Sunday, 22 January 2017

Lambert Lombard’s engraving, “Venus and Cupid”

Lambert Lombard (1515–1566)
“Venus Cupid”, 1568, from the series “The Four Seasons”, published by Hieronymus Cock (1518–1570), Antwerp.
Engraving on fine laid paper, trimmed within the image borderline and lined on a conservator’s support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 25.7 x 19.1 cm
Inscribed within the image borderline: “H. Cock exeudebat. 156[8]”
(Note that the impression held by the Rijksmuseum has the inscription that is partially erased in this impression: “Lambertus Lombard Invent”)
Lettered below the image borderline: “VER PINGIT VARIO GEMMANTIA PRATA COLORE” (Anth. Lat. 569: “Spring paints the jewelled meadows in various colours”)

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
“Presentation of the spring in a series with the four seasons. Venus and Cupid sitting under a tree in a spring landscape. Left behind is to create a group of young people music. Among the show a Latin verse from an epigram in the Anthologia Latina.” (
Riggs 173 (Timothy Allan Riggs 1977, “Hieronymus Cock, printmaker and publisher:,  p. 353, 173); Hollstein Dutch 19-22;  Hollstein 20.

Condition: good impression, trimmed slightly within the platemark. The sheet is in poor condition with many signs of its considerable age, but the wear, losses and tears have been conserved and the sheet is now lined on a support sheet of fine washi paper.  

I am selling this exceedingly rare engraving from the Renaissance era for the total cost of AU$326 (currently US$246.26/EUR230.35/GBP119.15 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this rare print by a famous old master and the teacher of Hendrick Goltzius (amongst others), please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. 

This print has been sold

This very rare engraving by Lombard exemplifies not only his contribution to Netherlandish art in the sense that crystallises his ideas about the Italian Renaissance (viz. the formality of the arrangement of the figures into a pyramidal form as well as the use of pictorial devices such as the rendering of the sky in fine horizontal lines) following his excursion to Rome in 1537 by order of the prince-bishop of Liège (Belguim), Erard de la Marck, to buy works of art, but it also exhibits a critical approach to engraving that was later to be developed  by one of his most celebrated students: the legendary, Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617).

Regarding Lombard’s influence on Goltzius, note for instance his treatment of Venus’ breasts. Here, the concentric circles that model the breasts are similar to those used by Goltzius in his treatment of form. Of course, Goltzius took these concentrically aligned contour marks and layered them and in his later prints famously added a dot in the diamond-shaped spaces arising where the curves crossed—a device that I have discussed in earlier posts: the “dotted lozenge.”

Another device that Goltzius arguably acquired from Lombard is a leaning to exaggerate the bumps and dents on the surface of forms; for example, note the treatment of Venus’ drapery. Goltzius developed this fascination with bumps to an extreme level in some of his later prints where forms seem almost lobulated with his obsession—his so-called “Spangerisms.”

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Joseph Alfred Annedouche’s engraving after William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s “Innocence”

Joseph Alfred Annedouche (aka Alfred Joseph Annedouche) (1833–1922), after
William-Adolphe Bouguereau (aka Adolphe William Bouguereau) (1825–1905)
“Innocence”, 1895, printed by Adolphe Ardail (1835-1911) and Alfred Salmon (fl. 1863–94), published by Arthur Tooth, London, 1895.

Etching on chine collé on heavy wove paper, hand- signed in pencil by both Annedouche and Bouguereau and with the Printseller Association's blind stamp at lower left with full margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 65.5 x 21.8 cm; (plate) 52.8 x 28 cm; (chine collé) 50.7 x 27 cm; (image borderline) 41.6 x 21.5 cm
Lettered with publication details above the image borderline: “Copyright 1895 by Mefs rs Arthur Tooth & Sons, Publishers, 5 & 6 Haymarket, London, 295 Fifth Avenue, New York, & Mefs rs Stiefbold & Co, Berlin, Printed by Mefs rs. A. Salmon & Ardail, Paris.”

Condition: near faultless impression with large margins, hand-signed in pencil and in good condition for its age (i.e. there are no tears, holes or folds). Nevertheless, there is a scattering of pale foxing.

I am selling this exceptionally large engraving after a painting by Bouguereau—one of the most famous of the 19th century French Salon painters and renowned for his academic interpretation and reinvention of classical myths—for the total cost of AU$495 (currently US$373.92/EUR349.77/GBP302.40 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this incredibly rare signed print by not only the engraver but also by the great master, Bouguereau, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. 

Artists may be incredibly famous in one century and almost forgotten in the next as tastes change. This is certainly the case with Bouguereau. He was esteemed as one of the finest academic painters of the Paris Salon in the nineteenth century with reviews such as:
"M. Bouguereau has a natural instinct and knowledge of contour. The eurythmie of the human body preoccupies him, and in recalling the happy results which, in this genre, the ancients and the artists of the sixteenth century arrived at, one can only congratulate M. Bouguereau in attempting to follow in their footsteps. Raphael was inspired by the ancients and no one accused him of not being original." (

With the shifts of public attention towards the avant-garde, however, his fame diminished and by the twentieth century he was far from being an artist to emulate. Indeed, the derogatory term, "Bouguereauté", was used by Degas and his colleagues to describe artworks that exhibited what they perceived to be Bouguereau’s style of "slick and artificial surfaces"—what we now call a “licked finish.” (see So cruel was the decline of esteem for Bouguereau, that even Paul Gauguin was thrilled to see several of Bougereau’s paintings in an Arles’ brothel “where they belonged” (ibid).

With the current re-emerging of interest in academic art, prints like this amazing engraving, are now being re-evaluated. What fascinates me is how artists like Bougereau contextualised the social values of their generation with the concocted subject matter of myth and imagery from a classical past. For instance, in this print the notion of innocence expressed in a somewhat cloying way by the young woman tenderly holding a sleeping child and fluffy lamb is set against and contextualised with a landscape heavily imbued with the love at the time for French forests—especially the forest of Fontainebleau. The reason that I have drawn attention to this forest background is because artists, or more specifically art students, in the nineteenth century were required as part of their training in the academies to be familiar with different tree types to meet examination requirements. This led to direct observation and studies of trees and in turn a deep appreciation of natural settings as shown here.

Friday, 20 January 2017

16th century engraving published by Antonio Salamanca

Unidentified artist
“Minerva” (?) from the “Suite of Famous Women”, c.1545–48, published by Antonio Salamanca (1478–1562)
Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed to the oval image borderline
Size: (sheet) 12.7 x 9.8 cm
From the collection of Giuseppe Storck (Milano) and dated 1799 (Lugt 2319)

Condition: richly inked and well-printed impression, trimmed to the image borderline in pristine condition. There is an ink inscription (verso) by the previous 18th century collector, Giuseppe Storck, dated 1799.

I am selling this 16th century engraving for the total cost of AU$93 (currently US$70.14/EUR65.83/GBP56.98 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this strong image of what may be the Goddess Minerva—the Roman goddess of wisdom and the arts who was born fully armoured from the head of Jupiter, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. 

Rather than focusing on this print’s many fine attributes (e.g. the closely aligned horizontal lines in the background designed to project the subject’s face—the Goddess Minerva?— forward and the strong tonal contrast in the modelling of the face designed to pictorially flatten the form like a low relief sculpture), I’ve decided to take a different approach to this discussion and offer some background information about the print’s publisher, Antonio Salamanca.

In terms of what may be his greatest claim to fame, Salamanca published what is the “earliest dated print that is a conscious reproduction of an independent, complete work of art …” (David Landau & Peter Parshall 1994, “The Renaissance Print 1470–1550”, Yale, p. 166) of what the same authors describe as an “undistinguished rendition of Raphael’s last great painting, ‘The Transfiguration’, published in 1538 …” (ibid).

The fact that this first reproductive print is described as “undistinguished” is not an incidental detail as Salamanca focused his publication efforts on prints that were inexpensive to edition (i.e. prints from old plates that were not desired by artists and prints from artists of “anonymous mediocrity”). This is not to say that Salamanca did not publish masterworks (e.g. Marcantonio Raimondi’s “Judgement of Paris” [see my earlier post regarding this print]), but that Salamanca chose to publish in quantity rather than in quality. Landau and Parshall (1994) express this leaning to bulk publishing very well with the following insight: "There is no plate that cannot be reworked again and again, as testified to by the hundreds that passed through the stocks of Salamanca…” (p. 132).

Mindful that I may have metaphorically “shot myself in the foot” by advising that many of Salamanca’s published prints are of dubious quality, I need to clarify that this is not the case with this print. This is a very strong image where the quality “speaks” for itself. Beyond the manner of its execution, just look at the face; it’s alive with captured expression! The engraver may be unidentified but the print is wonderful.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Antonio Tempesta’s 16th century engraved emblem print

Antonio Tempesta (1555?–1630)
“Mountainous Landscape with Lion, Stag, Bear, Snakes, Goats, and a Unicorn”, c.1589, from “’Emblemata Sacra” (Sacred Emblems) (1589)
Engraving on fine laid paper with narrow margins.
Size: (irregularly cut sheet) 9.7 x 8 cm
Bartsch (1984, vol. 37, p. 136) 1260 (178) (Antonio Tempesta [Miscellaneous Subjects])

Condition: crisp impression with narrow margins in excellent condition.

I am selling this 16th century emblem print for the total cost of AU$167 (currently US$126.27EUR118.30/GBP102.40 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this small but richly populated print with almost a Noah’s ark manifest of animals, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

Emblem prints, such as this one, are not designed to communicate meaning in the same way as other illustrations for books. What I mean by this curious comment is that they are not intended to be easily and readily understood—at least not to the uninitiated who are not privy to the symbolism employed in the compositions. Essentially, they are like icons invested with the aura of secret power which could only be engaged with by reading the relevant text from the book in which they are published. The task of deciphering the text is designed to be equally challenging and the ideal way to understand the image and text is to read and see the illustration with a single mindset.

Mario Praz (2001) in “Studies in seventeenth-century imagery” sums up this special relationship between image, text and understanding with regard to emblem prints wonderfully:
“The emblem combined the ‘mute picture’ of the plate, the ‘talking picture’ of the literary description, and the ‘picture of signification’, or transposition into moral and mystical meanings. The first two helped each other, by complementing and strengthening one another” (p. 171).
Praz (2001) then explains the point of emblem prints: “Meditation, stimulated by pictures, was calculated to prepare the souls of the novices for the terrible trials which awaited them in their missions among the heathen" (ibid).

Although I have not read the relevant text in “’Emblemata Sacra” (Sacred Emblems) (1589) that once accompanied this print, my eyes are riveted to the scene portrayed in the middle distance of snakes slithering away from a pool of water. From a dark and dingy corner of my brain, I recall that psychologists many years ago tended to read images with snakes and their proximity to water as signifying the artist’s relationship with his or her father. (Note: I may be wrong about this.) No doubt the fact that these snakes are slithering away from the water suggests that the Tempesta’s father may not be favoured at the moment that he designed this woodcut. It’s just a shame that the print doesn’t feature a sun in the sky as its proximity to the mountain may have signified Tempesta’s relationship to his mother. I guess that if Tempesta’s dad is signified as being a fading force then his mum has faded away completely.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Workshop of Hendrik Goltzius, “Apollo Killing Python”

Workshop of Hendrik Goltzius (aka Hendrick Goltzius) (1558–1617) and executed under Goltzius’ direction. Note that amongst the students in Golzius’ workshop were the highly distinguished artists: Jacob Matham, Jan Saenredam, Jan Muller, Jacob de Gheyn II and Pieter de Jode.

“Apollo Killing Python”, 1589, from the series of fifty-two prints (of an originally planned 300) “Metamorphoses Book I”, published by Claes Jansz. Visscher (1587–1652)

Engraving on fine laid paper with thread margins
Size: (sheet) 17.9 x 25.5 cm
Lettered below the image borderline with four lines of Latin in two columns by Estius: "Immensum certis strauit ... / ... necat atq mari." Numbered “15” at the lower left.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 13: Apollo killing the Python; the god standing at left and pointing a big bow at the monster; after Hendrik Goltzius.” (

Bartsch (1980, vol. 3, p. 319) 43 (105) (after Goltzius); Hollstein 10-61; 508-559 (after Goltzius); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 532-551 (Hendrick Goltzius; Prints after inventions by Goltzius); Bartsch (1803) III.105.13

Condition: an exceptionally rare, richly inked and well-printed impression with thread margins in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, stains or foxing but with a light centre fold that is flattened).

I am selling this stunning, lifetime impression (based on the crispness of the faultless impression) of a print that is very seldom seen on the market for the total cost of AU$460 (currently US$347.48/EUR325.08/GBP282.85 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this fabulous engraving from the 16th century, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

So much is written about Goltzius that I have decided to focus on an issue that is seldom (if ever) discussed: why women and monsters are shown on the right side of men.

Clearly this is a topic that few men would wish to engage with—it’s far too dangerous—but it is a phenomenon that I have noticed in so many prints that I feel that it’s time to address this interesting arrangement. Of course, printed images like this engraving are often mirror images of the original design. After all, the printing process reverses the image drawn on the plate.  Accordingly, this print may have been conceived with Apollo on the right and the monster on the left. I simply don’t know and the truth may be an inconvenient reality for the present discussion. Even disregarding what may be an awkward truth, this is not the sole image in art where men, as a thinking and calculating force, are portrayed on the left and the complementary feminine emotional force is portrayed on the right. For example, one only has to think of the many images of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, such as the one that I posted not long ago, to appreciate the point that I am making: men are shown on the left and women are shown on the right. Indeed, so entrenched is the idea that the analytical elements of a composition are shown on the left and the emotionally pregnant aspects are shown on the right that even advertisements of cars are based on this arrangement with factual information on the left (e.g. fuel consumption and how many kids can fit into the vehicle) and how we might feel when driving the car expressed on the right.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

engraving after Raphael Sadeler’s “Saint John the Hermit”

Unidentified 17th century engraver
“Saint John the Hermit”, 17th century engraving in reverse after the engraving of the same title by Raphael Sadeler I (1560/61–1628/32) , from the series,Trophæum Vitæ Solitariæ” (see also “Oraculum, Anachoreticum ...”), after a drawing in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (inv. 79B17, pl. 13), by Maarten de Vos (aka Marteen de Vos; Marten de Vos; Maerten de Vos) (1532–1603) published by Jean Leclerc IV (aka Jean Le Clerc) (1560–1621/22)

Engraving on fine laid paper with margins and lined on a conservator’s support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 18.9 x 23.5; (plate) 15.4 x 19.1 cm
Inscribed within the image at lower right: “I. Le Clerc excud”
Lettered within the text box with two columns of Latin: "Dæmone quam ... humo". Numbered below centre "15".

The British Museum offers the following description of Raphael Sadeler I’s engraving of which this is a copy in reverse:
“St Joannis, with long hair and beard, crawling from a hole in the side of a rocky mountain with two dogs sniffing around nearby; at the mouth of the hole are some vegetables; beyond are two hunters with their dogs; plate 15; after Maarten de Vos. 1598” (

Bartsch (2006) 7101.121C3 (vol. 71 Part 1 [Supplement], p. 168); Hollstein 1039 (Maarten de Vos); Hollstein 139

Condition: excellent impression with margins in good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, stains or foxing but there are very light surface marks) lined on a support sheet of fine washi paper.

I am selling this fascinating engraving for the total cost of AU$147 (currently US$110.79/EUR103.59/GBP90.45 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this beautifully executed engraving featuring two superbly drawn dogs, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

Saint John (aka St Joannis) the Hermit died in c.881. For those who may be unfamiliar with this saint, he was sadly separated from his holy companions who had retired to Azogires in Crete (with advice from God), but found a way to catch up with them (with advice from God) by placing his coat on the sea and floated to his friends supported on their prayers. Upon arrival, St John retreated to a cave in the neighbourhood of Koukoustiana. From my understanding, this cave was not entirely suitable and after seeing a vision of the holy plane-tree he moved to a fresh cave at Akrotiri in Gouverneto. Here he performed the miracle of turned two snakes inside his cave into stone.

This print illustrates St John’s final days in his cave when he was too old to walk and had to crawl on all fours. As this scene is about to unfold, St John's evening meal is to be disturbed when he is shot with an arrow by a farmer who mistook him for a predatory animal. The farmer, after realising his mistake, sought St John’s forgiveness, and was forgiven on the proviso that he tells his holy companions that he is dying and that they must die too. Interestingly, when the farmer goes to fulfil his duty of telling the holy fathers that they must die he discovers that they had already died earlier in the day.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Thomas Moran’s etching, “The Sounding Sea”

Thomas Sidney Moran (1837–1926)
“The Sounding Sea”, 1880, published and printed by Gesellschaft für Vervielfältigende Kunst, Vienna
Etching on cream wove paper with margins as published
Size: (sheet) 29 x 38.3 cm; (plate) 16.1 x 31 cm; (image borderline) 14.2 x 29.3 cm
Signed and dated in the plate at lower left and lettered below the image borderline: "ORIGINAL—RADIRUNG VON TH. MORAN.”

“Adventures in the Print Trade” offers an insightful discussion about Moran and this print (see and IDBURY Prints offer specific details about this print (see

Condition: faultless impression in pristine condition.

I am selling this rare and exceptionally beautiful etching by one of the most famous of the American painter-etchers for the total cost of AU$317 (currently US$236.73/EUR223.45/GBP196.32 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this masterpiece of etching by a luminary of the Hudson River School in New York, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

Rather than restating the context for this print that is already explained succinctly in “Adventures in the Print Trade” (see: I have decided to offer my personal thoughts about this scene of waves breaking on the shore.

For me, the title of the etching, “The Sounding Sea”, suggests that I should respond to this image of waves as if I could actually hear the sound of surf pounding on sand while simultaneously seeing the water in its turbulent frenzy. This invitation by the title to merge my olfactory and visual senses is interesting. Sometimes artists wish to excite the visual senses of their audiences by goading the viewers' eyes to see colour in a black and white print through the viewers' past associations and acculturation with visual conventions. For example, early black and white engravings featuring heraldic designs subliminally entice the eye to see colour through the following arrangements of line in the design: blue is connoted with horizontal lines; red with vertical lines; green with forward slanting lines; orange with lines slanting in the opposite direction; gold with dots, and silver with no marks at all. In this etching, the jab-like thrusts and the multi-directional use of line express not only a picture of the sea, but also, in my mind’s eye, a hint of colour in its surging power, its cacophony of sounds and its inexplicable mix of salty taste and ozone smell.

Mindful that Moran may have shared my personal leaning towards synaesthesia (i.e. “a medical condition in which one of the five senses simultaneously stimulates another sense”; see, for me the beauty of this print is that it truly captures the pounding force of breaking waves not by describing them with light and shade but by expressing their energy in a way that touches all the senses in the strokes themselves.