Thursday, 3 August 2017

(Attrib.) Georg Conrad Bodenehr, “Chronos”, c1700


Attributed to Georg Conrad Bodenehr (1663–1710) 

(Note: this attribution is based on the indistinct inscription “G. C. B. Sc.” in the publication details and that the etching seems stylistically appropriate for Bodenehr to have executed it (see for example the online copy of Bodenehr’s illustrations in “Annus symbolicus, emblemmatice, et versu leonine …” [1696] offered by Archive.org.: https://archive.org/details/annussymbolicuse00redel. The laid paper also has the extra build-up of pulp abutting the chainlines typical of early laid paper before the process of moulding the paper was refined.)

“Chronos”, c1700 (the attribution of this date is based on the publication of Bodenehr’s illustrations in “Annus symbolicus, emblemmatice, et versu leonine …” in 1696), after the design by “L. H.” (an unidentified artist—perhaps Lambrecht Hopfer [aka Lambert Hopfer] (fl. c.1525–50) but this design is unrelated to any prints in his oeuvre although there may be a drawing of the same composition—whose initials are inscribed in the publication details on the plate).

Etching on fine laid paper with 2.9 cm chainlines.
Size: (sheet) 29.8 cm; (plate) 20.9 x 16.2 cm
Inscribed in the plate at lower-right: “L. H. del.”; (very indistinct) “G. C. B. Sc.”; “10”

Condition: crisp impression with the artist’s name partly erased (?). The sheet is in near pristine condition apart from a small flaw/hole in the paper at the lower-left edge. There are pencil notations from a previous collector (verso).

I am selling this graphically strong illustration of Chronos (aka Father Time) perched on a cloud with an hourglass on his head and his "grim-reaper" scythe in his hands for the total cost of AU$98 (currently US$77.77/EUR65.60/GBP59.22 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this small masterpiece pregnant with symbolic meanings, 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


The task of attributing the name of an artist to an etching like this one is not easy. Moreover, there will always be information that has been overlooked that can ultimately resolve the true identity of the artist. Regarding this print, I have no doubt that such information is waiting for me as the etching is clearly an illustration from a book as it is numbered “10”, in the sense that this is plate 10 in a series of published prints, and the way that the margins are formatted supports the idea that the print is a leaf from a book.

My choice of artist as the etcher is based on the VERY pale inscription: “G. C. B. Sc.” that is shown following the name of the designer “L. H.”. The reason that the name of the artist is so indistinct is a mystery for me. Arguably, the inscription is worn down as a result of multiple printings of the plate, but I doubt that this is the case as the rest of the image is very crisp and clear.

Regarding my attribution of the name, Georg Conrad Bodenehr (1663–1710), as the etcher, this is less of a problem as there are very few artists with the initials “G. C. B.” Moreover, Bodenehr’s style is very close to what is exhibited here (see his illustrations in “Annus symbolicus, emblemmatice, et versu leonine …” [1696]: https://archive.org/details/annussymbolicuse00redel).

Beyond the stylistic similarities, I feel reasonably comfortable that the print was executed in the late 17th to early 18th centuries when Bodenehr was active. This is because the type of laid paper used for this print—commonly referred to as “antique laid paper”has the tell-tale thickening towards the chainlines that is an attribute of papers from this age before industrial improvements in the manufacturing process made the chainlines less distinctive.







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