Sunday, 24 September 2017

Wenzel Hollar’s etching, “Elderly bald man looking down after Leonardo", 1648


Wenzel Hollar (aka Wenceslaus Hollar; Václav Hollar) (1607–77)
“Head and bare, sinewy neck of a bald man”, 1648, after a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) in the Royal Collection at Windsor (RL 19003 recto) from the series of “Caricatures and deformities after Leonardo” (Pennington, 2002, cat. nos. 1558–1610B)

Etching on wove paper.
Size: (sheet) 12.3 x 10.7 cm; (plate) 6.8 x 4.7 cm
Inscribed within the plate: “Leonardo / da Vinci inu: / WHollar fec. / 1648.”
Nineteenth-century impression of the only state (?). I understand that there were three early editions published in Antwerp of the series of which this plate features—but without the creation of fresh states: 1645 (this edition may not have included this plate as it was executed in 1648), 1648, and 1666.

Pennington (2002) 1578; New Hollstein (German) 1018 (Hollar)

Richard Pennington (2002) offers the following description of this print in “A descriptive catalogue of the etched work of Wenceslaus Hollar 1607–1677”, Cambridge University Press:
“Bust almost full face of bald elderly man looking down. He is clean-shaven and the bones and sinews of neck and chest are very prominent.” (p. 288)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Head and bare, sinewy neck of a bald man, directed to left, head tilted to look down; after Leonardo da Vinci. 1648” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3491378&partId=1&searchText=hollar+1648&page=1)

Condition: well-printed impression on laid paper with signs of wear to the plate. The sheet is in pristine condition with generous margins (varying in width but approximately 3 cms).

I am selling this exquisite etching by one of the greatest printmakers of history, Wenzel Hollar, reproducing a drawing by one of the greatest artists of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci, for the total cost of AU$98 (currently US$78.13/EUR65.36/GBP57.90 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this small and historically influential print that showcased Leonardo’s drawings to 17th century artists, 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


What may come as surprise regarding this etching and others by Hollar after drawings by Leonardo is that—according to the distinguished writer, Sir Kenneth Clark, in “A catalogue of the drawings of Leonardo … at Windsor Castle, Cambridge”, 1935, the vol. of text, Appendix B, p. xlvii—the “drawings are so repulsive to us were yet the first of Leonardo’s drawings to be appreciated in the seventeen and eighteenth centuries” (Pennington 2002, p. 272). This view of these prints by Hollar is shared by Richard T Godfrey (1994) in "Wencelaus Hollar: A Bohemian Artist in England” who proposes that “Leonardo’s drawings of grotesque heads are not in the strict sense caricatures; nonetheless, through the intermediary of Hollar’s prints, they exerted enormous influence of the development of the caricature in England in the eighteenth century” (p. 100).



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