Saturday, 31 December 2016

Claude Mellan’s engraving, “Portrait of Jean-Pierre Camus, Évêque de Belley”

Claude Mellan (1598-1688)
“Portrait of Jean-Pierre Camus, Évêque de Belley”, 1653, published in “Dreux du Radier's 'L'Europe illustre'” (Paris: Odieuvre & Breton, 1755-1765). (Note that this print has been attributed to circa 1637 [see], but this is not a feasible proposal as the plate is inscribed with the date of Camus’ death in 1652. Consequently, I am relying on the date of 1653 advised by Montaiglon)

Engraving on laid paper with large margins.
Size: (sheet) 24.6 x 16.3 cm; (plate) 15.5 x 10.6 cm; (image borderline) 12.9 x 9.9 cm
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) “Mellan Sculp.”; (centre) “JEAN PIERRE CAMUS / Evêque de Belley / Mort à Paris, le 26. Avril 1652, agé de 70 ans, / A Paris chez Odieuvre Md. d'Estampes, quai de l'Ecole vis à vis la Samaritaine a la belle Image C.P.R."
State ii (of ii) (See an impression from the first state at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
Montaiglon 1856, no. 176, State ii/ii (Montaiglon, Anatole de. “Catalogue raisonne de l'oeuvre de Claude Mellan d'Abbeville”. Abbeville: P.Briex, 1856)

Condition: crisp impression in excellent condition.

I am selling this genuine engraving by the illustrious engraver, Claude Mellan, for the total cost of AU$148 (currently US$106.57/EUR101.41/GBP86.33 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this insightful portrait, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

This sensitive portrait of Jean-Pierre Camus (1584–1652), the Bishop of Belley—famous for his works of fiction and spirituality (e.g. "Nature's paradox: Or, the Innocent Imposter”, trans. John Wright [London, J.G. for Edward Dod and Nathaniel Ekins, 1652]) —is interesting to compare with my previous post of a portrait by an unidentified engraver executed with the use of a pantograph. Both portraits rely solely on the use of parallel lines to depict the portrayed figure but there is a difference of stylistic approach separating how light and shade are represented. In the pantograph tonal gradations are shown by subtle directional variations in the close alignment of vertical lines that are all of the same line thickness. In Mellan’s engraving, tonal gradations are shown by fine adjustments to the thickness of each line in the sense each line tapers and swells according to the contours of the figure. Mellan’s skill in employing this approach to rendering tone reached its most idiocentic point of technical virtuosity in his masterpiece, “The Veil of St Veronica” (1649), executed in a single line drawn as a spiral (see While I am amazed that anyone could ever create such a stunning feat of disciplined perseverance as Mellan’s engraving of the Sudarium, his engraving of the bishop should be studied closely for other reasons. After all, this small portrait was created around five years after his acclaimed masterwork and it has all the hallmarks of a mature artist’s style: a simplicity of approach that relies on expression of meaning rather than bravura and an unhesitating flow of confident strokes that capture the essential attributes of the portrayed subject.

Pantograph reproductive engraving of Ignaz Graf von Hardegg

Unidentified 19th century engraver
“Ignaz Graf von Hardegg”, 1830
Engraving on wove paper
Size: (sheet) 24.9 x 16.8 cm; (image borderline) 14.7 x 12.7 cm
Inscribed below the image borderline in two lines: “IGNAZ / GRAF VON HARDEGG,”

Condition: crisp impression in pristine condition.

This print may be of a low monitory value, but it is of great value to those interested in rarely seen technical processes. This print has been executed using a pantograph (a mechanical device usually employed to copy images) to trace the contours of a low relief sculpture in a matrix of vertical lines. If anyone is interested in acquiring this extraordinary print, I am offering it for AU$25 (currently US$18/EUR17.13/GBP14.58 at the time of this listing) in combination with the sale of other print(s).

This print has been sold

This is far from being an important engraving even though the subject portrayed, Ignaz Graf von Hardegg (1772–1848), is a famous Austrian cavalry general and a skilled commander during the Napoleonic Wars. The attribute that sets it apart from the plethora of other engraved portraits from the 19th century is the technique used to reproduce the low relief sculpture of the general.

At first glance from a distance, the engraved line work of the print merges beautifully together to reveal the subtle modelling of the sculpture. Closer examination—close enough to use a jeweller’s loupe—the detail of the line work reveals the extraordinary technique used. Essentially the whole image consists of finely laid vertical lines where slight curves within each line captures the contours of the original sculpture.

The technique is simple enough, in that the vertical lines are scored mechanically by a pantograph. The real skill, however, lies in setting up the mechanism so that it only inscribes vertical lines that almost “touch” each other and the angle adjustment of the tracing stylus that moves over the sculpture to create the degree of contouring within the lines. (My apologies to users of a pantograph for reproductive engraving if my descriptions are not accurate.) 

Friday, 30 December 2016

Antonio Tempesta’s 17th century illustration of a buffalo

Antonio Tempesta (1555?–1630)
“Buffalo”, c.1630, from the series of 206 plates: "Nova raccolta animali piu curiosi del mondo."
Engraving on fine laid paper with narrow margins.
Size: (irregularly cut sheet) 9.8 x 13.8 cm; (plate) 9.4 x 13.6 cm 
Inscribed below the image borderline: (left) “Bonnaful”; (right) “Bonnafo”

Condition: well-inked and crisp impression with narrorw margins in excellent condition.

I am selling this very early illustration of a buffalo with a scene of a hunt in the distance for the total cost of AU$208 (currently US$150.28/EUR142.48/GBP121.91 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this natural history print of the utmost rarely, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

Unlike the wonderful etching of a hippopotamus (cleverly disguised as a beaver) by Tempesta that I posted not long ago, this etching of a buffalo must have been drawn from life—or at least remembered from Tempesta’s personal observation of the beast. Certainly there were water buffalo in Italy at the time of Tempesta as their blood line is still with us today: Bufala Mediterranea Italiana (a breed used for their milk and in the production of the famous “buffalo mozzarella”).

What makes this early illustration of a buffalo extra interesting is the hunt scene depicted in the distance. From my reading of this scene (and I need to point out that I am often wrong) is that a buffalo is being chased by dogs and in the chase the buffalo is defecating. (Yuck) More curious (and this is where my inability to read an image properly becomes apparent), further back from the front-running dog are two other dogs that are mysteriously on fire. As a note of contrast, far in the distance is a more peaceful scene with a rock(?) wall protecting another buffalo and two calves.

I really love this print as it raises a strong memory from years ago when I read Simon Schama’s book “Landscape & Memory” (1995) and discovered that there were bison roaming around in Lithuania. More disturbing for me was that these bison herds were dwindling in numbers, shamefully as a result of trophy hunting. Although this is shocking, I loved Schama’s description of them in terms of tasting like nothing he has “ever eaten before: a strange sweetness lurking beneath its cheesy pungency” (p. 37).

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Anders Zorn’s etching, “Rosita Mauri”

Anders Zorn (aka Anders Leonard Zorn) (1860–1920)
“Rosita Mauri”, 1889, published in the “Gazette des Beaux-Arts”, printed by L Eudes (fl. 1876-88).
Etching printed in bistre coloured ink on light brown wove paper with margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 26.8 x 18.1; (plate) 23.6 x 15.8 cm; (image borderline) 21.8 x 14.3 cm
Inscribed within the image: (lower right) “Zorn ‘89”
Lettered below the image borderline: (lower left) “Zorn del. & sc.”; (lower centre) “ROSITA MAURI”; (lower right) “Gazette des Beaux-Arts. / Imp. Eudes”
State iv (of v)
Sanchez & Seydoux 1891-5; Delteil no.34 (IV/V); Asplund 34; Hjert & Hjert 27

Condition: crisp and well-printed impression with margins, as published, in near pristine condition. There is a light fold on the lower corner (visible verso).

I am selling this iconic etching by Zorn for a total cost of AU$375 (currently US$314.71/EUR301.18/GBP256.78 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this very important print epitomising the Belle Époque in Paris, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This is arguably the most famous of Zorn’s etchings. The subject is the prima ballerina, Rosita Mauri (aka Roseta Mauri y Segura; María Isabel Amada Antonia Rosa Mauri Segura) (1850–1923). Rosita is not only famous for her reputation as dancer of international standing, but also as a model for many artists—notably Degas—during the golden age of Parisian life: La Belle Époque (1871–1914).

What I find interesting about this print, beyond the stylish virtuosity of the angled strokes, is Zorn’s use of what may be described as faux white Chinese calligraphy to suggest the fabric pattern on Rosita’s dress. Not only do these white—or more correctly, “negative”—strokes reveal Zorn’s resourcefulness in merging Oriental aesthetics with Occidental tastes but the marks also exhibit the sensitivity of his approach to drawing in that they visually “slow down” the slippery course of the angled hatched lines.

Sometimes I find myself having to defend the consummate skills of Zorn as he makes drawing seem so easy. This is a shame as his sublime skill in suggesting the silhouette edges of forms without literally drawing outlines and to suggest colour through the juxtaposition of different qualities of line is a magical gift.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Giovanni Cesare Testa’s etching, “The Body of Christ Mourned by Angels” after Pietro Testa and Karel Dujardin's "The Battlefield"

Giovanni Cesare Testa (1630–55, Parma)
“The Body of Christ Mourned by Angels”, c.1650, after Pietro Testa (1612–50)
Etching on heavy laid paper with narrow margins.
Size: (sheet) 19.7 x 25.7 cm; (plate) 19.2 x 25.3 cm; (image borderline) 18.6 x 24.5 cm
State ii (of ii)
Inscribed in the image in the lower right corner “[entwined letters] PTL Lo: Ces: Testa Inc."; below, in a different script: “Gio Jacomo de Rossi formis Romae alla Pace”; above: “Pietro Testa Inv.”

The National Gallery of Scotland offers a description of this print and advises that the copy in their collection was purchased “July 1979 from Christopher Mendez for £15,500” ([21380]=21380&search_set_offset=79)
The British Museum holds one of the original drawings by Pietro Testa used for this print. The curator’s discussion about this drawing and its extension into other artworks is very interesting; see

Provenance: collection of Conrad Baumann v. Tischendorf
Nagler 5 II

Condition: crisp and well-printed impression with narrow margins in very good condition. The print is affixed to a support sheet at the upper corners (verso). There is a light stain slightly to the left of centre on the lower edge and there are other areas of minor toning.

I am selling this exceptionally rare print for a total cost of AU$437 (currently US$314.71/EUR301.18/GBP256.78 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this startling and anatomically fine portrayal of Christ, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

Giovanni Cesare Testa’s printmaking career is somewhat shrouded in mystery. One thing is certain, however, his prints are rare and seldom found on the market and they command high prices (for example the National Gallery of Scotland acquired their copy of this print in “July 1979 from Christopher Mendez for £15,500” according to the gallery’s website). A part of the mystery surrounding GC Testa is that the main source of documentation about him is written by Filippo Baldinucci “(1847) in “Notizie dei professori del disegno da Cimabue in qua …” (reprinted in 1974) which Elizabeth Cropper (1988) in “Pietro Testa 1512–1650: Prints and Drawings” advises is “not especially accurate” (p. 240). Nevertheless, from what I understand, GC Testa was P Testa’s nephew on his father’s side. The details that I am choosing to ignore is the claim that GC Testra was born in 1640 and that his printmaking career was condensed to just the five years after the death of P Testa. One intriguing glimpse into GC Testa’s life is made by Giovanni Battista Passeri (1679) in “Die Künstlerbiographien” (Ed. Jacob Hess, 1934) with the curious comment that GC Testa’s “death was not so worthy of compassion.” (p. 188; see also Cropper [1988] p. 240).

If I may leave the mire of information and misinformation surrounding GC Testa for the others to ponder, what I love about this print is how well the figure of the dead Christ is drawn. Indeed, the drawing of this figure is so confidently handled—apart from the torso that may be a little too schematic in the delineation of musculature—that it compares very favourably with the dead figure portrayed in Karl Dujardin’s (1622–78) “The Battlefield” (1652) that the great master, Walter Sickert, proposed: “Enlarged photographs of the naked corpse should be in every art school as a standard of drawing from the nude” (Clifford S Ackley 1981, “Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt”, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, pp. 214–5).

Karel Dujardin (aka Carel Dujardin) (1622–78)
“The Battlefield” [La champ de bataille], 1652
Etching and drypoint on fine laid paper
State II (of II)
(sheet) 16.2 x 19.3 cm
Bartsch 1.28 (181); Hollstein 28.ii
See descriptions of this print at Auckland Art Gallery
Condition: Marvellous impression in excellent condition trimmed on, or within, the platemark. There are conservator hinges attached verso from previous mounting.
I am selling this very famous original etching by Dujardin for a total cost of AU$206 (currently US$147.82/EUR142.06/GBP120.86 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this print, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Cornelis Bloemaert’s engraving, “Iphis” after the design by Abraham van Diepenbeeck

Cornelis Bloemaert (1603–92) and Theodor Matham (aka Dirk Matham) (1605/1606–76) (for the background)
“Iphis” (the suicide of the shepherd Iphis after rejection by Anaxarete), c.1635–38, after Abraham van Diepenbeeck (1596–1675), published in Michel de Marolles' (1600–81) “Tableaux du temple des muses tirez du cabinet de feu Mr. Favereau.” Paris: Antoine de Sommaville, 1655.”

Etching and engraving on fine laid paper with full margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 35.6 x 22.9 cm; (plate) 28.3 x 18.5 cm; (image borderline) 23 x 17.9 cm
Lettered below image with title and three lines of Latin from Ovid's Metamorphoses: "foribus laquei religavit vincula summis, / Inseruitq[ue] caput; sed tum quoq[ue] versus ad illam est, / Atq[ue] onus infoelix elisa fauce pependit. / Ouid. XIIII. Metam.".
Hollstein 34-93 (after Diepenbeeck) (Hollstein, F W H, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam, 1949); Hollstein 90-148; Roethlisberger 1993 CB11 (Roethlisberger, Marcel G; Röthlisberger, Marcel G, “Abraham Bloemaert and his sons: Paintings and prints”, 2 vols, Ghent, 1993)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Mythological scene with Iphis hanging himself at Anaxarete's door who did not answer his love, a garden beyond; after Abraham van Diepenbeeck; illustration on page 403 from Marolles' "Temple des Muses" (Paris, Nicolas Langlois: 1655). c.1635-1638. Etching and engraving”
The curator of the British Museum also advises: “This is one from a series of fifty-eight illustrations to Marolles' Tableaux du Temple des Muses' (Paris, 1655)” (

Condition: strongly-inked impression in marvellous, near pristine, condition.

I am selling this visually arresting image for a total cost of AU$147 (currently US$105.67/EUR101.09/GBP86.13 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this strong and even disturbing image that foretells the metaphysical images of Giorgio de Chirico (1888–1978), please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

This is one of those images that makes viewers stop in their tracks. After accepting that one is looking at a chap hanging from a portico tympanum, the questions start to flood in: Is this a suicide or execution? If it is either of these options, where is the support that originally raised him so high? Why is he facing the wall? Why are his feet horizontally flat as if he is standing on the ground?

This print captures a peculiarly frozen moment: a moment where drapery can be blown in a breeze but everything else is still. From my way of looking at it, the image is like a precursor to the metaphysical images of Chirico or the noisy quiet of a René Magritte. The image is so full of intriguing unanswered questions..

For those who would like to have my beginning questions answered: the portrayed chap is Iphis, a shepherd, who has committed suicide after being rejected by the love of his life, Anaxarete. From an unreliable source, I understand that he committed suicide by standing on a block of ice that melted—this explains his horizontal feet and the lack of a means with which to raise himself far off the ground. Iphis has hung himself not facing a wall but rather the entrance to Anaxarete’s house so that when the love of his life opens the door she will fully appreciate the outcome of her failure to communicate with him. Sadly, Iphis' desire to teach Anaxarete a lesson that she would not forget was wasted as Anaxarete was not affected by his death. In fact, Anaxarete was so unmoved that the goddess Aphrodite turned her to stone. 

Monday, 26 December 2016

Joannes Galle’s engraving, “Euterpe”, after the design by Maerten de Vos

Joannes Galle (aka Johannes Galle; Jan Galle) (1600–76),
“Euterpe”, 17th century, the fourth plate in a series depicting the Muses after Maerten de Vos (aka Marten de Vos) (1532–1603)

Engraving on heavy laid paper with thread margins
Size: (sheet) 16.6 x 9.5 cm; (plate) 16.3 x 9.2 cm; (image borderline) 15 x 9.1 cm
Inscribed within the image borderline at lower left: “Marti de Vos inu[v]vent. / Joan Gall excudit. / 4.”
Lettered below the image borderline: (centre) EV[U]TERPE. / Dulciloguis calmos EV[U]TERPE flatibus V[u]rget”

Nicholas S Lander offers the following insightful description of this print:
“The fourth engraving in a series depicting the Muses. Euterpe (Muse of music and lyric poetry) sits playing a straight trumpet held in her right hand. In her left hand she holds a cylindrical recorder with a greatly flared bell; the beak, window/labium and four lowermost holes (in line) are clearly visible. Beneath the recorder stands a case, a set of tubes for five wind instruments. At her feet lie a folded trumpet, a crumhorn without a windcap, a cornetto, a set of small bagpipes and a flute. To her right and in the distance four other female figures play bagpipes, flute, straight trumpet and a crumhorn (again without a windcap). Just below the recorder is a case for five flutes.” (

Hollstein (1949-, XLVI: 167, no. 1301); Musiek & Grafiek, Antwerp (1994: 5, fig. 3d); Paris RIdIM (2000); Rasmussen (2002, Bagpipe; 2007, Flute).

Condition: strong and well-printed impression with tread margins. The sheet has aged to a mellow yellow and there are remnants of mounting hinges (verso) and a faint stain at the top left corner (recto).

I am selling this rare early engraving of the muse of music portrayed with around a dozen musical instruments, including an early bagpipe in the foreground and—extraordinarily—a woman playing one in the distance, for the total cost of AU$142 (currently US$102.32/EUR97.89/GBP83.28 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this rare and historically significant print showing a large collection of early musical instruments, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. 

This print has been sold

This image of the muse, Euterpe (the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne), leaves no doubt that she is in charge of music in the sense that I counted no fewer than twelve musical instruments surrounding her. Sadly, lyric poetry that should have been another of Euterpe’s symbolic attributes is strangely missing.

Like many early 17th century images this print has the usual trappings of mannerism; for example, note how Euterpe’s left arm is almost detached from her shoulder and how delicately small her neck seems. What I find very interesting about the manneristic swirl to Euterpe’s gown is how well it helps to project the notion of sound of the straight trumpet that she blows.

Regarding the musical instruments surrounding her, my eye is drawn to the bagpipe shown in the foreground—curiously still inflated. Of course, bagpipes were not invented by the Scots and so to see one here is not an issue. The development of this instrument involved a much wider spread of countries from Africa to the Balkans and beyond. I should also mention that this beautiful engraving with its featured bagpipe is not the first print to depict this instrument. One of the most famous representations of a bagpipe is Durer’s engraving, “The Bagpiper” (1514), but, for me, what makes this scene with the bagpipe so special and perhaps unique is that it shows in the distance a lady playing one.

Perhaps I should not be surprised, as I fully appreciate that there are no physical impediments to a woman playing a bagpipe, but from my understanding of the use of bagpipes in the early days is that it carried with it notions of bawdiness—the bawdiness of Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales”. Perhaps more disturbing, is that this instrument carried with it symbolic notions of the male genitalia. I should hasten to add, however, that this symbolism was usually reserved for still life arrangements featuring a bagpipe placed beside a vase—the vase in this setting symbolised feminine charm.