Monday, 13 November 2017

Jaspar Isaac’s engraving, “Description des Anciens Bains Romains”, c1620


Jaspar Isaac (publisher) (aka Gasper Isac; Jaspar Isac; Gaspard Isac; Jaspar Isacsz; Jasper de Isaac) (1585–1654)

“Description des Anciens Bains Romains”, c1620, published by Jaspar Isaac.

Copper engraving on cream laid paper lined onto a conservator’s support sheet
Size: (sheet) 20.4 x 42.8 cm; (plate) 16.3 x 40 cm; (image borderline) 15.8 x 9.3 cm
Inscribed within the image borderline: (lower left) ”Jaspar Isac ex”; (lower centre) “DESCRIPTION DES ANCIENS BAINS ROMAINS”
Lettered below the image borderline in six columns of four lines : “Voicy Le tableau ueritable ….Et met fin à tous Leurs esbȃs.”

Condition: an exceptionally rare early impression (based on the lack of wear to the plate) with generous margins in very good condition for its age (i.e. beyond minor tears in the margins and a few light marks on the lower-right corner, there are no holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing). The sheet has been laid upon an archival washi paper support sheet.

I am selling this graphic treasure from the Renaissance period for AU$302 (currently US$231.60/EUR198.72/GBP175.61 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this incredibly rare, eye-opening fantasy of a Roman orgy set in an ancient bath house, 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


I guess that this engraving sums up my childhood fantasies of what the ancient communal Roman baths might have been like: a big orgy. From what I have been able to discover about this very long and action-filled print, the location of this particular bath house is somewhere around Bagnères- de- Bigorre. Sadly what remains of the structure is only to be viewed in tantalising glimpses in local archaeological sites (see http://monuments.loucrup65.fr/thermesdebagneres.htm).

Although there is enough lewd behaviour on show to keep one’s eyes wide open, I need to point out one figure that might make an art historian’s jaw drop. This is the figure seated in the centre foreground, just to the right of the building’s right column, with a garland in her hair and her chin resting on her right hand.

Once this damsel and her partner is located I can imagine that most viewers will dumbstruck. After all, this lady and those around her—including the chap spraying water at an exposed backside—are those adapted for Édouard Manet’s famous painting,Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe” (1863/4). Of course this composition was appropriated by Manet from Raimondi’s engraving after Raphael (see my earlier post featuring Marco Dente’s copy of Raimondi’s print http://www.printsandprinciples.com/2016/10/marco-dentes-judgement-of-paris-after.html). Alternatively, Manet may have appropriated the composition from Giorgione or possibly Titian or even from the source that all these artists had (perhaps unknowingly) taken their various adaptations: the bas-reliefs on the ancient Roman sarcophagi held in Villa Medici and Villa Doria Pamphilj, Rome.






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