Monday, 23 April 2018

Jan Collaert II’s engraving, “Ecce Homo”, 1584–7, after Jan van der Straet


Jan Collaert II (aka Hans Collaert; Jan Baptist Collaert I) (c1561–c1620)

“Ecce Homo” (behold the man), 1584–7, after Jan van der Straet (1523–1605), plate 12 from the series of 21 engravings (see the BM Curator’s advice about variations in the plate numbers noted in the description of the title plate for the series: BM no. 1943,0709.149), “Passio, mors et resurrectio dn. Nostri Iesu Christi”, published by Philips Galle (1537–1612) in Antwerp.

Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed to the image borderline and lacking the biblical text lines and publication details.
Size: (sheet) 16.2 x 13.6 cm
State i (of ii?) before the publisher’s name is inscribed within the image borderline and the floor is portrayed as tiled. (See a later state impression listed by the antique dealer, Winstein: https://www.proantic.com/en/display.php?mode=obj&id=224876)

New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 101.I (Johannes Stradanus); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 361.I (The Collaert Dynasty); Baroni Vannucci 1997 695.12 (Alessandra Baroni Vannucci 1997, “Jan van der Straet, detto Giovanni Stradano, flandrus pictor et inventor”, Milan, Jandi Sapi Editori).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 12, Ecce Homo: Christ, in frontal view, wearing the mock regalia, stands before an archway; to the left, Pilate holds Christ's robe and stretches his hand out, towards the viewer; a group of soldiers guard the accused”

Condition: early crisp impression with little or no wear to the plate, trimmed image borderline. There are a small mark verso that is faintly visible recto at left of centre, otherwise the sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, folds or foxing) for its considerable age. The verso has the remnant of a mounting strip at upper edge.

I am selling this superb early impression of a rare masterwork executed with almost unbelievable skill and discipline—note that the lines rendering Christ’s legs are so fine that they can only be seen properly with the help of a loupe—for AU$288 in total (currently US$220.18/EUR179.96/GBP157.78 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in acquiring this magnificent engraving from an age when printmakers clearly had no time for a social life, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


For those who may be perplexed as to why two different titles—“Ecce Homo” and “The Man of Sorrows”—are often used for artworks showing Christ standing alone facing the viewer, I’ve decided to offer my understanding of this convention ...

Regarding “Ecce Homo” images, these show the episode in Christ’s passion leading to his crucifixion when has been scourged, crowned with thorns, stripped and presented to the hostile crowd under the supervision/jurisdiction of Pilate. In short, “Ecce Homo” (transl. “Behold the Man”) images illustrate a specific moment in Christ’s ordeal before he is led away to be crucified.

By contrast, images showing Christ as “The Man of Sorrows” go beyond illustrating the specific event in Christ’s passion. Instead, here Christ is portrayed as a devotional figure—what historians term as an "andachtsbilder"—for a viewer’s prayers with all the symbolic attributes of his passion showcased: his five wounds (viz. the nail holes and lance wound to his torso); blood streaming from his lance wound; instruments of torture; a chalice; crown of thorns; cross; scourging pillar; Christ’s suffering face with his eyes usually looking at the viewer. 







Sunday, 22 April 2018

Augustin Hirschvogel’s etching, “The Rival Sacrifices of Elijah and the Priests of Baal”, 1548


Augustin Hirschvogel (1503–1553)

“The Rival Sacrifices of Elijah and the Priests of Baal”, 1548 (inscribed on plate), from the series of 104 illustrations published by Aegidius Adler (fl.mid-1500s) in 1550, Vienna, in “Vorredt und eingang der Concordantzen alt und news Testaments."

The Curator of the British Museum advises that Adler’s publication features “[t]wo etchings to a page with German letterpress above and below with relevant biblical passages” (see BM no. 1926,0617.13.86). TIB notes that this print is paired with the etching “The Agony in the Garden” (see TIB 18 [9].1.45 [171]).

Etching on fine laid paper trimmed to the plate mark with thread margins and re-margined with a support sheet.
Size: (support sheet) 23 x 17.3 cm; (sheet) 11.5 x 14.7 cm
Inscribed with the date on plate at lower right corner: “1548”

TIB 18 (9).1.44 (171) (Jane S Peters [ed.] 1982, “The Illustrated Bartsch: German Masters of the Sixteenth Century”, vol. 18, Abaris Books, New York, p. 138); Schwarz 1971, no. 41 (K Schwarz 1971, 'Augustin Hirschvogel: Ein deutscher Meister der Renaissance', facsimile edition of the 1917 edition with plates, New York); Hollstein 134 (F W H Hollstein 1954, “German engravings, etchings and woodcuts c.1400-1700”, Amsterdam).
See also the brief description of this print at The National Gallery of Art: https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.39361.html

Condition: marvellously crisp impression (undoubtedly a lifetime impression based on the line quality with no sign of wear to the plate), trimmed close to the plate mark. There are a few minor marks, otherwise the sheet is in excellent condition for its considerable age and has been re-margined with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper so that both sides of the sheet can be examined without damaging the delicate paper. The verso has ink stamps from previous collectors and pencil notations.

I am selling this very early and extremely rare etching for AU$310 in total (currently US$237.80/EUR193.52/GBP169.83 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in acquiring this Renaissance period print executed in Michelangelo’s lifetime and by the artist who arguably popularised the great Albrecht Altdorfer’s approach to landscape, 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



For those who may be unfamiliar with the biblical story behind this scene, the portrayed event is a competition between the sacrifice of a bull made by Elijah and the same sacrifice made by the priests of Baal (see the “First Book of Kings”, chapter 18, versus 23 to 40 [https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/1-kgs/18.21?lang=eng#20]). The moment represented is when Elijah is seen to be the “winner” as his sacrifice is shown to be catching fire, whereas the one prepared by the priests of Baal in the background fails to ignite. Like many such stories, the outcome of this competition is gory, as the priests of Baal are herded together after failing to attract their god’s attention and (to quote from verse 40) “…Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.”

Although this etching focuses on the competition and Elijah’s success, the landscape background—somewhat sparse as it is—is an important feature in terms of the history of portraying landscape. The reason for its importance is that Hirschvogel—along with Hanns Lautensack—is famous for his panoramic representation of landscape in the sense that he popularised the landscape tradition set by Albrecht Altdorfer and Wolf Huber. 






Saturday, 21 April 2018

A pair of woodcuts by Jost Amman, featuring emblem figures set beside blank escutcheons, 1579


Jost Amman (aka Jost Ammon) (1539–1591)

Double-sided leaf with woodcut illustrations to Johann Posthius’ (1537–97) “Anthologia Gnomica”, 1579, featuring 162 woodcut illustrations, published in Frankfurt am Main by Sigmund Feierabend (1528–90) and printed by Georg Rab (fl.1580).

(left image/recto) “Male figure holding a lute beside a blank escutcheon” (description title only), 1579.

(right image/verso) “Two nude women standing on orbs beside a blank escutcheon, one holding a flaming torch and the other holding a chalice” (descriptive titles only), 1579.

Two woodcuts printed verso and recto on fine laid paper re-margined with a support sheet.
Size: (re-margined support sheet) 30.7 x 22 cm; (sheet) 13.3 x 9 cm

Andresen 1868 I.399.236.27 (A Andresen, 1868, “Beiträge zur älteren niederdeutschen Kupferstichkunde des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts, Archiv für die zeichnenden Künste [Naumanns Archiv]”, 14); New Hollstein (German) VI.152.29 (Jost Amman)

The British Museum offers the following description of the recto print:
“An empty shield with a male figure holding a lute; standing at right; illustration to Johann Posthius, 'Anthologia Gnomica', Frankfurt: Rab for Feyerabend, 1579. 1579 Woodcut”

Condition: both impressions (recto and verso on the same sheet) are well-inked and well-printed with little or no evidence of wear to the plates (i.e. the prints are probably lifetime impressions or at least from an early printing before the printing plates became worn). The sheet shows signs of use (i.e. there are minor surface marks, flattened folds and small fractures/holes), otherwise the sheet is in excellent condition for its considerable age and has been re-margined with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper so that both sides of the sheet can be examined without damaging the delicate paper.

I am selling these rare early woodcut impressions from 1579 showing emblem figures beside empty escutcheons (i.e. shields without armorial crests) printed on both sides of the same sheet, for AU$154 in total (currently US$118.13/EUR96.14/GBP84.37 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing these elegantly designed and skilfully executed woodcuts by one of the most famous and productive printmakers of the 16th century, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This sheet of prints has been sold


Despite the small size of this pair of woodcuts that are printed on the two sides of the same sheet, the compositions are not cramped with line work and detail. Indeed, to my eyes there is a spirit of openness to the compositions wherein the blank paper becomes a critical design element.

Beyond Amman’s insight in allowing the blank paper to give emphasis to the important features in each composition, the blank paper contained by the shield shapes raises the interesting question: why did Amman not show an armorial crest signifying a particular noble family on each empty escutcheon? To be frank, I really don’t know the answer. I am happy to speculate nevertheless.

From my understanding of Amman’s practice as prolific printmaker, his designs often served as illustrations in more than a single publication. Mindful of this, I can appreciate the point of not furnishing a shield shape with the crest of only one family. After all, if he left the shield shape blank, each noble family could pay to have a fresh block cut and to be printed within the blank space. A sensible money-making business proposition!









Friday, 20 April 2018

Antonio Tempesta’s etching (with engraving), “Vacha Rubea—Vacca Rossa”, 1620


Antonio Tempesta (1555?–1630)

“Vacha Rubea—Vacca Rossa” (Google transl. “Pink Cow”, but based on the penile sheath—or whatever it is called—and its big shoulder hump I suspect that this is a “Pink Bull”), c1620, plate 89 from the series of 206 plates, "Nova raccolta animali piu curiosi del mondo" (aka “Animals and mythical creatures”), published in Rome by Giovanni Giacomo de'Rossi (1627–1691) in or before 1650 (arguably with papal privilege from Pope Innocent X).

Etching and engraving on early laid paper with large margins backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 28.3 x 20.7 cm; (plate) 9.9 x 14.1 cm; (image borderline) 8.9 x 13.5 cm
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Vacha Rubea”; (right of centre) “Vacca Rossa”; (right) “89”
State ii (of ii) with the addition of the plate number at lower right.

See the description of this print in its first state held by the Rijksmuseum:
See a brief description of this print held by the CalcoGRAFICA:
See also the printing plate for this print held by the CalcoGRAFICA:

Condition: crisp and well-printed early impression still retaining the lettering guide-lines in superb condition for its considerable age, with only a small closed tear at the binding edge of the sheet at centre-left and a light diagonal mark (perhaps a flattened fold) at the lower-right corner.

I am selling this rare early print of a bull that I suspect would have appealed to Picasso and the Cubists regarding the rather startling placement of the animal’s eyes, for AU$208 in total (currently US$150.85/EUR129.96/GBP113.88 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable and very rare 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


In earlier posts I have showcased a few other etchings by Tempesta of animals that one doesn’t often see. For example, in one of his animal prints Tempesta featured a hippopotamus cleverly disguised as a beaver (see http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2016/12/antonio-tempestas-17th-century.htm). In another, he shared his fantasy by portraying a half dog and half goat having a wonderful time leaping around while being watched by a two-headed, six legged donkey (see http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2017/08/antonio-tempestas-etching-capras-canis.html).

With Tempesta’s etched drawing of the head of this “Vacca” (in translation a cow but I see it as a bull) that is described as “pink” in the lettered title (again the translation may be inaccurate and the poor animal is not really pink but rather a “normal” bovine red) is riveting to look at. In fact, I find that the faulty alignment of its eyes is so fascinating that I have difficulty looking away.

Beyond the curious face of this “Vacca” that only its mother could love, I wish to point out another equally curious element in this composition: the placement of the animal’s rear hooves “outside” of the frame. From a personal standpoint, I find this placement very disturbing. I do not believe that Tempesta simply made a mistake and ran out of room to fit the feet into the picture. After all, this is a late print by Tempesta and a lifetime of experience would not allow for such an elementary mistake. Instead, I believe that the artist wanted the viewer to feel spatially challenged by this Vacca; a challenge in which the awkward placement of the hooves makes the animal inhabit not only the picture space within the frame but also to intrude into the viewer’s personal space.







Thursday, 19 April 2018

Félix Buhot’s etching (with aquatint, roulette and drypoint), “Le Petit Enterrement” (The Little Funeral), 1878


Félix Buhot (aka Félix Hilaire Buhot; Tohub [Buhot’s name in reverse that the artist signed some of his earlier plates]) (1847–1898)

“Le Petit Enterrement” (The Little Funeral) (aka “Sous l'averse” [Under the shower]), 1878, published in 1902.

Etching, aquatint, roulette and drypoint on cream wove paper printed in brown ink with full margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 21.2 x 30.3 cm; (plate) 8.7 x 11.3 cm
Inscribed on plate with the artist’s “owl” monogram at upper left.
State ii (of ii) with the addition of aquatint toning

Bourcard 1899 154.II (Gustave Bourcard 1899, “Catalogue descriptif de son [Félix Buhot] oeuvre grave”, H Floury, Paris)
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Rainy street with in the foreground two figures sharing an umbrella and running towards a funeral procession following a coach; second state, with plate cut in height, some aquatint work, and plate rebitten”

Condition: faultless, well-printed impression with wide margins in pristine condition.

I am selling this small print that Buhot valued so highly that he sometimes wrote notes to friends on some impressions along the prints' margins, for AU$422 in total (currently US$328.94/EUR265.95/GBP231.30 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this superb print exemplifying Buhot’s notion of his prints as being “paintings on copper,” 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


The drawing and print dealers, C & J Goodfriend, offers the following marvellous insights into this delicately poetic print:
“Impressions of this print exist in three different colors: brown, which is common and almost never stamped or signed (a published edition); black, which is scarce; and blue, which is the rarest and most strikingly effective. According to an article on Buhot by Philippe Burty, the Boulevard de Clichy, where Buhot lived, was, on one side of the street, filled with buildings of five of six stories containing artists’ studios. The opposite side of the street was lined with undertakers, tombstone makers and sellers of funereal goods. So what Buhot frequently saw when he emerged from his studio was a funeral, sufficient reason for him to have painted, drawn and etched such scenes. The two figures in the foreground are also to be seen in his Retour des Artistes aux Champs Elysées of the preceding year, a sample of how elements of his observation or imagination wander from one image to another.”

From a personal standpoint, what I find especially interesting about this small print is the restraint that Buhot shows in what he doesn’t portray. For instance, I see this composition as being a “man’s viewpoint.” What I mean by this rather curious term is that men tend to funnel their view to what is directly ahead of them without being overly aware of peripheral details (i.e. in this composition the viewer’s attention is focused on what is happening at the centre of the scene but not on subject matter at the edges). I know this to be true as my cook’s jaw often drops with incomprehension that I have an inability to find things in the fridge whereas my wonderful cook can see the whole contents of the same fridge in a glance (sigh).







Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Crispijn de Passe the Elder’s engraving (with etching), “Ball Game”, 1617


Crispijn de Passe the Elder (aka Crispin Van de Passe; Crispin De Passe) (1564–1637) 

“Ball Game”, 1617, plate 14 from the series of 50 plates (including the frontispiece) published in “Nieuwen ieucht spieghel” (1617) by an unidentified author (see http://emblems.let.uu.nl/nj1617.html to download the publication).

Engraving with etching on fine laid paper with small margins, backed and remargined with a support sheet.
Size: (remargined support sheet) 29.8 x 31.5 cm; (sheet) 11.7 x 16.1 cm; (plate) 10.1 x 14.5 cm; (image borderline) 8.8 x 14.3 cm

Veldman (2001) 16 (Ilja M Veldman 2001, “Crispijn de Passe and his Progeny (1564-1670): A century of Print Production”, Sound & Vision Publ., Rotterdam, p. 167, n. 16, fig. 53);
See also the online discussion about this print at Emblem Project Utrecht: http://emblems.let.uu.nl/nj1617014.html
See also the frontispiece to the series at the Rijksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.collect.161379

Inscribed on plate below the image borderline in two lines of Latin text in two columns: “Cursitat manusque pedesque iuuenta fatigat, / Spheram percutiens atque reprecutiens. // Sanguinis est ea vis nempe in iuuenilibus annis: /’Gratior atque isthac fit ratione cibus.
(Google transl. “Youth and runs a hand and foot troubles, / The sphere will, and he smote the reprecutiens. // The force of the blood in young years; / Be more pleasing, and looks ahead occur by reason of the food.”)

Condition: richly inked and well-printed impression (undoubtedly a lifetime impression based on the strength of the printed lines and the still visible guidelines for the lettered text) with small margins, remargined with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, stains or foxing, but there is minor age toning and light handling marks).

I am selling this small and rare print showing a 17th century game with a balloon for AU$175 in total (currently US$136.26/EUR109.93/GBP95.83 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing superb print of an early sporting event, 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


When I began my research into this remarkable engraving, I was misguided by the title given by a website selling reproductions of it: “Spectators watch a game of football” (see https://www.allposters.com/-sp/Spectators-Watch-a-Game-of-Football-Posters_i1864219_.htm?UPI=ORUIO0&PODConfigID=4986398&sOrigID=78669). I soon discovered that the game illustrated was not about football at all but rather a game with a balloon … although I must admit the balloon shown here must be a ruggedly strong one as the participants in the game all have protective covering on their right hands!

Thanks to the links provided by the online website, “Emblem Project Utrecht” (http://emblems.let.uu.nl/compare.html?left=nj1617014&right=f1691014) I found that balloons held emblematic meanings at the time that this print was executed. For example, balloons may be an object for play to be battered around from one person to the next as shown here, but “they may also be emblematic for the spirit of prevailing against external forces (i.e. “standing one’s ground”). In Daniel de la Feuille’s (1691) emblem book, “Devises and Emblems”, for instance, the illustration, “Un Balon” is captioned (in translation):  “The more I am beaten, the more I rise.”

Regarding the meanings underpinning this particular balloon being battered around, the symbolism takes de la Feuille’s noble virtues of resistance and perseverance a step forward—or at least a step into everyday reality. What I mean by this is that from my reading of the inscribed text beneath the image, the chaps shown engaged in the game are ignoring the dangers of what is described as “hand and foot troubles” by “the force of the blood [of their] young years” sensing that after the game they can look “ahead … [to] food.”