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Friday 19 May 2017

Sebald Beham’s woodcuts from “The Apocalypse”, 1539

Sebald Beham (aka Hans Sebald Beham; Sebald Peham) (1500–50)
Two woodcut prints on the same leaf, 1539, from the series of twenty-six woodcuts showing subjects from “The Apocalypse” (Book of Revelation), book-illustrations printed together with Latin letterpress text, printed in Frankfurt by Christian Egenolph (1502–55).

(Recto) “An Angel Chains the Dragon” (TIB title), 1539
(Verso) “Destruction of the Beast” (TIB title), 1539

Woodcuts on laid paper with (partial) lines of accompanying Latin letterpress text and small margins.
Size: (sheet) 10.9 x 7.9 cm; (borderline of each plate) 6.8 x 7.12
TIB 15 (8). 116-[1] (233) (Walter L Strauss & Robert A Koch [Eds.] 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 15, Abaris Books, New York, pp.187–88); Bartsch 92-120; Dodgson 1903, 1911 I.440.3; Pauli 1901-11 855 & 856 ((Apocalypse)); Paisey 2002 22; (David Paisey 2002, Catalogue of German printed books to 1900”, London, BMP); F W H Hollstein 1954, “German engravings, etchings and woodcuts c.1400-1700”, Amsterdam, p.189.

Condition: an extremely rare leaf with excellent impressions on both sides and small margins.

I am selling this small and superb double-sided leaf of woodcuts by one of the most famous of the German Little Masters for AU$332 (currently US$247.41/EUR221.05/GBP190.04 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing these stunning woodblock illustrations by the great master, Hans Sebald Beham, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

These prints have been sold

In previous posts I have discussed Sebald Beham’s prints and so I will simply mention here that he is one of the most famous of the German printmakers in the early 1500s.

Presuming that I am not alone in having an extremely thin understanding about what is discussed in the “Book of Revelations” (aka, the “Revelation to John”; the “Apocalypse of John”; ”Apocalypse”; “The Revelation”; or simply, “Revelation”) for which these prints are illustrations, I have extracted some of the relevant text from the “World English Bible” (WEB) to give each illustration its context.

Regarding the print on the recto side, “An Angel Chains the Dragon”, this image illustrates the following verses from “Revelation: 20” (note that the first-person pronoun, “I”, refers to “John”):

“I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
2 He seized the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years,
3 and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were finished.”

Regarding the print on the verso side, “Destruction of the Beast”, this image illustrates the following verses from “Revelation: 19”:

11 “I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it is called Faithful and True. …
13 He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood. His name is called ‘The Word of God.’
14 The armies which are in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in white, pure, fine linen.
15 Out of his mouth proceeds a sharp, double-edged sword, that with it he should strike the nations. … [Note that this sword may be seen in the illustration protruding from the crowned figure on horseback on the left shown directly beneath the angel at the top of the image] …
19 I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him who sat on the horse, and against his army.
20 The beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked the signs in his sight, with which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur.
21 The rest were killed with the sword of him who sat on the horse, the sword which came out of his mouth. All the birds were filled with their flesh … [Note the flesh eating birds shown to the right of the angel]”

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