Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Daniel Hopfer’s etching, “False Oath and Murder,” c.1520


Daniel Hopfer (1471–1536)
“False Oath and Murder”, c.1520, the upper-right panel in the composite print, “Christ’s Mission to the Apostles and Other New Testament Scenes” (Bartsch title) or “Food regulations from the Gospels and the Acta Apostolorum”, published in the 17th century edition by David Funck (fl. 1682–1709) in “Opera Hopferiana”, Nuremberg.

Etching with German text on laid paper trimmed at the image borderline.
Size: (sheet) 14.8 x 18.3 cm

According to the British Museum, the original plate is signed with monogram in the plate at centre. Lettered above each scene with corresponding passage from the Bible.
Regarding the publication of the Hopfer’s etchings, Robert A Koch (1981) in Vol. 7 of TIB advises in his editor’s note: “In the 17th century a Nuremberg publisher named David Funck numbered 230 of [… Hopfer’s] plates and issued a volume entitled ‘Opera Hopferiana.’ In 1802 a publisher named C. Wilhelm Silberberg in Frankfurt-am-Main reissued 92 plates with the Funck numbers in a volume which he also entitled ‘Opera Hopferiana.’ These plates were printed on unnumbered pages of a heavy wove paper.” Mindful of the two editions, as this impression is on wove paper it is from Funck's 17th century edition.

Hollstein 35.II; Bartsch (1803) VIII.481.32; Bartsch (1981) 17.32 (481); Nagler 32

The British Museum offers the following description of the whole print of which this impression is a part:
“Food regulations from the Gospels and the Acta Apostolorum; six scenes illustrating various Bible passages; including Christ sending out his apostles; instructing them on what to eat on their journeys; the clean and the unclean; St Paul at a banquet from which the clergy, guarded by a devil, are excluded; St Paul showing Christ to a congregation; St Paul at a wedding; impression from the Funck series. Etching”

Condition: richly inked, crisp impression trimmed at the image borderline, with light foxing, a flatten fold and remnants of mounting hinges (verso); otherwise in excellent condition.

I am selling this iron etching by the legendary Daniel Hopfer—the first artist to use etching for prints on paper—that is a panel in a larger composite six-panel plate for the total cost of AU$320 (currently US$245.32/EUR226.94/GBP193.18 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 from the Renaissance era, 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


To illustrate the concepts of murder and false oath is not easy and I think that Hopfer’s solution to the problem of communicating these ungodly sins is quite brilliant: the repeated use of a small demon/devil overseeing each of the mini events portrayed.

I especially like the very graphic way that Hopfer shows a murder about to occur by an axe wielding assailant and the monkey-like demon hanging off the murderer’s shoulder. From the standpoint of a meaningful illustration this tiny scene “works” very well as Hopfer has captured the most telling moment when all the pent-up energy for the pending murder is “just right” (i.e. at the beginning of the swing of the axe rather than half way through the action).





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