Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Georg Pencz’s engraving, “Garmmar”, c1541


Georg Pencz (c1500–50)

“Grammar”, c1541, from the series of seven engravings, “The Seven Liberal Arts”.

Engraving on laid paper trimmed along the platemark.
Size: 7.4 x 5.00 cm
Signed with monogram on a tablet at lower left and lettered there: 'ACITAM/ MARG'.
Numbered at lower right and lettered with the Latin alphabet on the tablet held by the genius.
State i (of i)

TIB 16 (8) 110 (355) (Walter L Strauss & Jacob Bink et al [Eds.] 1980, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 16, p. 125); Landau 1978 109 (David Landau 1978, “Catalogo completo dell' opera grafica di Georg Pencz”, Milan); Hollstein 82 (F W H Hollstein 1954, “German engravings, etchings and woodcuts c.1400-1700”, Amsterdam); Bartsch VIII.355.110 (Adam Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna).

The British Museum holds a number of deceptive copies of this print (see E,4.281, Gg,4Q.25 and 1937,0802.1.61), and offers the following description of this—the original—print:
“Plate 1: Grammar; whole-length female figure seated at left, in profile to right; holding a large key in her right hand and pointing with her left hand to a tablet with the alphabet held by the genius at right; from a series of seven engravings of female personifications of the liberal arts in studies accompanied by genii. c.1541” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1519827&partId=1&searchText=pencz+grammar&page=1)

Condition: richly inked lifetime impression trimmed along the platemark. The sheet has numerous minor restorations, including a replenished tip to the lower-right corner, traces of coloured pigment and light staining.

I am selling this very small but exquisitely rendered engraving by one of the famous German Little Masters —the shared interest of the group in executing little prints is exemplified by this postage-stamp sized masterpiece—for the total cost of AU$400 (currently US$317.13/EUR266.40/GBP245.43 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this precious print from the mid-1500s, 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


This is the first engraving in Pencz’s series addressing the Renaissance ideal of a “proper” education titled, “The Seven Liberal Arts.” Based on my understanding of the Renaissance vision of a good curriculum offered by Jeffrey Chipps Smith (2014) in “Nuremberg, a Renaissance City, 1500–1618” (University of Texas Press), there are two fundamental components and this print, “Grammar”—the first plate in the series—is linked with “Dialectic” and “Rhetoric”—Plates 2 and 3 in the series—in what is termed the “trivum”, the first key component of a sound approach to education. This triumvirate of pedagogical constructs helps to shape the skills of clear communication. The second key component to learning, termed the “quadrivium” embraces the remaining plates in the series: “Arithmetic”, “Music”, “Geometry” and “Astrology”—Plates 4 to 7. This latter group, as the names suggest, gives the conceptual “meat” and direction to what is studied.

(Note: this explanation may be flawed and I may have profoundly misunderstood the logic behind medieval and Renaissance learning as discussed by Jeffery Chipps Smith.)






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