Thursday, 16 November 2017

Master of the Die’s engraving, “Envy Driven from the Temple of the Muses”, c1530


Master of the Die (fl.1522-33) (purported by the “Benezit Dictionary of Artists” [2005] to be Bernardo Daddi [fl.c.1530–60], but the BM also argues that the artist may be Tommaso Vincidor [1493–1536])

“Envy Driven from the Temple of the Muses” (TIB title), c1530 (1530–2), after Baldassare Peruzzi (1481–1536) after a woodcut by Ugo da Carpi (1486–1532), published by Philippe Thomassin (1562–1622).

Engraving on laid paper trimmed near the platemark with thread margins.
Size: (sheet) 25.5 x 18.3 cm
Inscribed within the image borderline: (lower left) “Baltazar Perutius Senen. Inuetor”; (right) the artist’s monogram 'B' on a dice
Lettered below the image borderline in two columns of four lines of Latin descriptive text: Quella che'l secol ... batte e’,  scopiglia”; (lower edge at centre) “Phts Thornassinus exc.”

State ii? (of ii?) Note that this impression with Thomassin’s name shown as the publisher is described by Bartsch (XV.195.17). The curator of the BM advises that this is a later state with the address of Lafreri as publisher erased and replaced with “Baltazar Perutius Senen. Inuetor” (see BM no. V,6.67). The impressions reproduced in TIB (29.17) and the BM (no. V,6.67) with the address of Lafreri are not mentioned by Bartsch.

TIB 29 (15). 17(195) (Suzanne Boorsch [Ed.] 1982, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century”, vol. 29, Abaris Books, New York, p.174); Bartsch XV.195.17 (Adam Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre graveur”, vol. 15, Vienna)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Envy (or Avarice) at the right being driven from the temple of the Muses by Hercules who raises a club in his right hand while the Muses look on”

Condition: richly inked and well-printed impression trimmed with thread margins. The sheet shows age toning but is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this engraving of the utmost rarity by the 16th century printmaker whose work is signed with a symbol of a dice—hence the artist’s descriptive title, “Master of the Die”—for AU$400 (currently US$303.86/EUR258.07/GBP230.28 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this superb print from the Renaissance era created in collaboration with Ugo da Carpi—falsely claimed to be the first printmaker to employ multi-plate (chiaroscuro) woodcut prints—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 Metropolitan Museum of Art offers the perfect explanation of what this print illustrates:
“... Hercules, symbolizing virtuous strength, drives away Avarice—a woman holding a hoard of precious objects—from the temple of the arts. The traditional protectors of artistic pursuits, Apollo and Minerva, look on with satisfaction, surrounded by the Muses. The nine muses, of which eight are visible here, were also associated with learning, particularly with poetic inspiration. The message is that avarice undermines the cultivation of the arts.”

The Met also advises:
“The drawings of Peruzzi were often engraved by the Master of the Die. In this case, he collaborated with Ugo da Carpi. Ugo da Carpi was an important early practitioner of the multiblock colored woodcut, a technique known as chiaroscuro (literally, 'light-dark'), which he falsely claimed to have invented.” (ibid)

What I love about this image is the mask-holding muse in the right foreground who unambiguously looks at me/the viewer. The psychological shock of being drawn into the portrayed scene by this lady’s meaningful gaze turns me into an active participant in the scene rather than a passive observer. This fascinating and rare use of such a visual device to provoke a reflexive response is marvellous.








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