Gallery of prints for sale

Sunday 23 April 2017

Étienne Delaune’s engraving of “The Virtues: Hope”, 1576

Étienne Delaune (aka Stephanus) (c.1518–83)
“The virtues: Hope”, 1576, from a series described by The Metropolitan Museum of Art as “oval prints with two theological virtues and the four cardinal virtues, represented by women standing on landscapes …” (

Engraving on laid paper trimmed to the oval image borderline.
Size: (oval sheet) 7.3 x 5.2 cm
Inscribed: (upper left) "SPES"; (left) "STEPHANVS / IN. F"; (lower left) "S F". (Note: Étienne Delaune signs his prints either as “Stephanus”—as shown here—or as “S. Goldsmith”)

Pollet 1995, 371 (Christophe Pollet 1995, “Les gravures d'ED”, 2 vols); Robert-Dumesnil 157a (A P F Robert-Dumesnil 1835, “Le Peintre-Graveur Français”, 11 vols.)

Condition: crisp and faultless impression trimmed to the image borderline. The back of the sheet shows a closed small tear (not visible recto), thin spots and a mounting hinge.

I am selling this small and very beautiful engraving executed in exceptionally fine detail for [deleted] at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this small masterpiece, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers the following description of this print:
“This print represents Hope, wearing a draped dress, one hand on her chest and the other lifted at her side, her eyes looking to the sky, and a halo around her head. Behind her is a medieval town, its people and a group of soldiers gathered around a fire on which naked women are burning, an angel among them.” (

This description is fine in terms of what can be seen in this tiny engraving, but as an explanation of what is portrayed it is a tad wrong and the following account may be closer to the truth.

The scene depicted has a biblical origin dating to the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. The folk being burned in a furnace are not “naked women” as the Met proposes, but rather the three Jewish men—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who refused to worship a golden idol when ordered by Nebuchadnezzar and were cast into “a fiery furnace” as punishment. Fortunately for the men, an angel protected them during their ghastly ordeal and they later emerged unscathed from the flames “without even the smell of smoke” (see chapter 3, “Book of Daniel”). Interestingly, Nebuchadnezzar was impressed with their faith and “promoted them to high office, decreeing that anyone who spoke against their God should be torn limb from limb” (,_Meshach,_and_Abednego). 

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