Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Aegidius Sadeler’s engraving, “Franz von Dietrichistein”, 1604

Aegidius Sadeler II (aka Gillis Sadeler; Egidius Sadeler; Ægedius Sadeler) (c.1570–1629)
“Franz von Dietrichistein”, 1604, after a drawing by Aegidius Sadeler II at the Prentenkabinet in Leiden, published by Marco Sadeler (c.1586-87; fl.1660s)

Etching and engraving on heavy laid paper trimmed along the image borderline.
Size: (sheet) 22.7 x 15 cm
Lettered title around oval, four lines of verse in Latin below beginning “Quis nollet debere tibi, ...”, at lower right “S. C. M. sculpto / Æg: Sadeler fecit. 1604”, and three lines of dedication at bottom, “Ill:mo et R.mo Principi ac D.D Francisco, mis: divina S.R. E. titulo S. Sylves Presb. Cardinali a Dietrichstain Episcopo ... obser. et grat. ergo Ægidius Sadeler D.D.”
Lettered above the image borderline: (lower right) Marco Sadeler exc”; (lower left) “S.C.M. Sculpt / AEg: Sadeler fecit. 1604”

State ii (of iii) TIB advises that in the third state, the publication detail of “Marco Sadeler exc.” is replaced by “Dancker/ Danckerize Exc.”

TIB 72 (Part 2 [Supplement]). 294.S1 (Walter L Strauss and Isabelle de Ramaix [Eds.] 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 72, Part 2 [Supplement], p. 110);  Nagler 1835–52, no. 27; Le Blanc, no. 101; Wurzbach, no. 125; Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 285; Limouze 1990, p, 170

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Portrait of Francis, Prince of Dietrichstein, bust in an oval frame, wearing cardinal's clothing; coat of arms above; figures representing the four cardinal virtues in the corners. 1604 Engraving” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3262220&partId=1&people=108907&peoA=108907-2-60&page=1)

Condition: excellent impression trimmed to the image borderline. The sheet is in superb (near faultless) condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions stains, or foxing) but the edge of the sheet is slightly uneven and there is a previous collector’s ink stamp and mounting hinges verso.

I am selling this stunning engraving by one of the greatest of the old master printmakers for the total cost of AU$307 (currently US$227.66/EUR207.38/GBP175.48 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this important print, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

The subject of this portrait is Francis (Prince) of Dietrichstein (aka Franz/Franciscus von Dietrichstein) (1570–1636). According to the British Museum and TIB, he was the Chamberlain to Pope Clement VIII and became a Cardinal in 1598 (hence the cardinal’s cap) and ultimately the Bishop of Olmütz in 1599. He crowned Rudolph II, Matthias and Ferdinand II as well as performing Ferdinand II’s marriage. Perhaps not too surprising, Ferdinand II made him a prince in 1624.

Beyond the historical significance of the portrait, this engraving is a showpiece of Aegidius Sadeler’s skills as an engraver. To explain this artist’s remarkable facility with the burin (i.e. the engraver’s tool) one only needs to look at and imagine the patience and discipline to sustain the tight alignment of the curved fine lines describing the concave surface of the niche behind the prince. This small section of the print illustrates very well Aegidius Sadeler’s command of his craft that enabled him to push a chisel point across a copper plate with machine-like precision. Simply incredible!

There is also creative intelligence displayed here. Note for example how he visually connects the allegorical figures—the cardinal virtues of Justice, Wisdom, Strength and Temperance—to the shallow sculptured space in which they are set by only using strokes aligned to the left—Aegidius must have been right-handed and the printing process has reversed his natural angle of mark making. Going further, to ensure that the shallow space is not too flat, he has portrayed the attributes of the allegorical figures using curved contour strokes. All these visual devices may seem very minor but they highlight the skills and intelligence of the artist.

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