Thursday, 30 March 2017

Tempesta’s etchings from the series “Horses of different lands”, 1590


Antonio Tempesta (1555?–1630)
(Clockwise from the upper left) “Plate 13”, “Plate 24”, “Plate 29”, “Plate 16”, 1590, from the series of 28 plates: “Horses of different lands.”
I believe that these impressions are from the c.1630 edition based on information that I received from the print dealer when I originally purchased them.

Etchings on fine laid paper with binding holes on the left (as published) and small margins all lined on conservator’s support sheets.
Size of “Plate 13”: (all of the sheets are irregularly cut and vary slightly in size) 16 x 20.9 cm; (plate) 14.1 x 17.1
All prints are numbered within the image borderline and have two lines of Latin text

Bartsch XVII

The British Museum offers the following information regarding the series, “Horses of different lands”, of which these prints are a part:
“Series of twenty-eight plates depicting horses from different lands; each plate showing one or two horses in a landscape; the series preceded by a frontispiece depicting Minerva in a chariot, driven by Prudence and Charity, and by a dedication sheet. 1590” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1548281&partId=1&searchText=tempesta+Horses+of+different+lands&page=1 )

Condition: well-inked and remarkably crisp impressions with small margins and hand inscribed numbers above the image borderlines. All sheets have minor imperfections (e.g. Plate 13 has a small loss at the top left corner in the margin; Plate 24 has a dot of discolouration close to the inscribed plate number; Plate 29 has a repaired loss towards the upper left corner in the margin; Plate 16 has a flatten fold mark on the left corner and a repaired loss on the upper right corner), but are in good condition for their age.

I am selling this rare set of four etchings by Tempesta for the total cost of AU$720 (i.e. AU$180 each) (currently US$552.28/EUR514.80/GBP442.80 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you wish to purchase only one of these prints I am selling them for AU$208 each (US$159.55/EUR148.72/GBP127.90).
If you are interested in purchasing these seldom seen prints, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This set of prints has been sold


Although these prints are all about horses I suspect that they are also all about the artist who crafted them. Note for instance Tempesta’s fascination with horses’ tails, or more specifically, his fascination with the spiralling and almost calligraphic flow of the individual hairs in the tails. At this point I should mention that I have no doubt that Tempesta was correct in rendering the spiralling flow of the tails as travelling in a clockwise direction when flicked but I am sceptical about whether they really do have curly ends like he has depicted—perhaps his love of curly ends on tail hair is less about true attributes of horses tails and more about Tempesta’s inner need to see complexity or to create complexity when it is not there to be seen.

Before I draw too many conclusions about Tempesta’s mindset and interests based on his fascinating treatment of horses’ tails, I wish to draw attention to his treatment of clouds: Tempesta populates his skies with knife-edged clouds with very pointed ends. Although I would be far out of my depth to suggest why an artist would repeatedly choose this cloud formation, I wonder about an artist's mindset when an artist selects lethally dangerous shapes.









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