Wednesday, 8 June 2016

(Workshop of) Hendrik Goltzius (1558–1617)
“Plate 6: The Iron Age”, 1598
From “Metamorphoses Book I”, published by Claes Jansz. Visscher (1587–1652)
Engraving on laid paper on a support sheet paper
Size: (support sheet) 18.5 x 26.5 cm; (sheet) 17.1 x 24.9 cm

Lettered in lower margin with four lines of Latin in two columns by Estius: "Ferreus hinc fremuit ... / ... Pudore Fides.". Numbered twice in lower corners but the numbering has been partially erased in this impression.
Hollstein 10-61; 508-559 (after Goltzius); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 532-551 (Hendrick Goltzius; Prints after inventions by Goltzius); Bartsch III.104.6

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“allegorical scene with a warrior stands at centre and brandishing a sword, at his feet lies some discarded armour, a drum and a cannon; after Hendrik Goltzius. 1589” (

Condition: marvellous impression trimmed to the borderline edge, but in poor condition. There are thin areas and a small dot stain but the real issue is the significant restorative support to a large burnt (?) section on the right side. The sheet has been mounted on a support sheet with a black borderline.

I am selling this major—but alas damaged—allegorical print from the workshop of Goltzius for a total cost of AU$166 (currently US$123.96/EUR108.96/GBP85.06 at the time of posting these print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable engraving from “Metamorphoses Book I” published in 1598, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

All the elements that I love about Goltzius are revealed in this engraving. For example, the key hallmarks of the latter style of Goltzius—one of the most skilful and influential of the Dutch printmakers of the 16th and early 17th centuries—are epitomised in the extreme musculature and theatrical gestures of the warrior standing “spread eagled” with his lush moustache, elaborate helmet and (dare I say it) very little else in the way of clothing. These attributes are commonly known as “Spangerisms”—a term arising from the mannered later style of Bartholomeus Spranger (1546–1611)—and in this print I can see “special” muscles on the heroic figure’s thigh that  would make anatomists shake their heads in wonder. From a technical viewpoint, there is also the rendering technique that made Golzius name famous: the “Dotted Lozenge.” This device is simply a dot placed in between cross-hatched lines so that the transition of tone from dark to light is facilitated. In terms of its effect in making contours appear fluid and very real, this was a major advance in the art of engraving and the delicate skill of the engraver(s) who employed the dotted lozenge technique in this print is stunning.

The curator of the British Museum offers the following insights about the publication of “Metamorphoses”:

“... a set of fifty-two prints (of an originally planned 300) after Goltzius (Hollstein 508-559). These plates were originally published in three sets (of respectively twenty, twenty and twelve plates), each separately numbered and later numbered consecutively (which explains the double numbering on the plates). The first two sets (i.e. forty plates) were designed by Goltzius around 1589 and the third set around 1615. The plates were engraved in the workshop of Goltzius, possibly by Jacob Matham, Jan Saenredam, Jan Muller, Jacob de Gheyn II and Pieter de Jode. Goltzius probably intended to illustrate all fifteen books of Ovid's Metamorphoses but abanded the project after three books/sets after his trip to Italy in 1590-1591.

These sets were probably originally published by Goltzius himself (see plate 2 which is lettered 'HG excud'; according to Bartsch plate 21 was also originally lettered with Goltzius's address). Claes Jansz Visscher and Robert Willemsz de Baudous published later editions as their addresses appear on some of the plates: plates 1 and 21 bear Visscher's address; plate 44 bears Baudous address.” (,0412.3.1&page=1

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