Monday, 29 May 2017

Hieronymus Wierix’s engraving, “Christ before Caiaphas”, 1571


Hieronymus Wierix (aka Hieronymus Wierx; Jerome Wierix) (1553–1619)

“Christ before Caiaphas”, 1571, book illustration from “Humanae Salutis Monumenta” (Antwerp), after the design by Pieter van der Borcht (c.1535–1608)

Engraving on fine laid paper with text (recto and verso).
Size: (leaf) 15.5 x 9.6 cm; (plate) 11.5 x 7.3 cm

Alvin 1866 1625 (L Alvin 1886, “Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre des trois frères Jan, Jérome et Antoine Wierix”, Brussels); Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1979 2204 (Marie Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1978, “Les Estampes des Wierix ... catalogue raisonné”, 4 vols., Brussels, Bibliotheque Royale Albert Ier); Hollstein 3.21.I.(32) (Wierix; Book Illustrations) (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Christ before Caiaphas; Christ seen standing to right, with his hands tied; soldiers seen pushing him before Caiaphas, seen seated under a canopy to left” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3054925&partId=1&searchText=wierix+Caiaphas&page=1)

Condition: rich and crisp impression with margins (varying from 1.1–2.1 cm) in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no stains, foxing, tears, holes, folds or abrasions and age toning is minimal).

I am selling this small treasure from the Renaissance period for AU$218 (currently US$162.16/EUR144.90/GBP126.20 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this example of engraving of the highest order, 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


Most printmaking folk already know about the Wierix brothers (Hieronymus, Johannes and Anton II) as they are celebrated for the fine quality of their prints—as exemplified in this remarkably sensitive engraving. What may not be so well known is that despite their sublime skills and exceptional discipline needed to craft prints of the highest order, they were fundamentally what might be described as “bad boys.” To clarify what I mean by this derogatory label, according to Carl Van de Velde (see entry for "Wierix" in Grove Art Online) in 1569 Hieronymous’ employer and famous publisher of the time, Christophe Plantin, “complained to the Jesuit priest Ferdinand Ximenes that whoever wanted to employ the Wierix brothers had to look for them in the taverns, pay their debts and fines and recover their tools, since they would have pawned them.” Moreover, Plantin also wrote that “after having worked for a few days the brothers would return to the tavern.” Bad boys to be sure!! If this behaviour wasn’t bad enough, in a drunken stupor Hieronymus even killed a woman in 1578—unforgivable!

Beyond the reputation for trouble that the brothers seem to have acquired, trouble also lurked in Hieronymus’ intimate family as well. According to Erik Duverger (1985) in “Antwerp Art Inventories of the Seventeenth Century”, his daughter, Christina, married the engraver Jan-Baptist Barbé, who had his “other” daughter Cecilia (his sister-in-law) declared insane in order to claim her inheritance—a set of Dürer drawings (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hieronymus_Wierix).





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