Friday, 17 November 2017

Master of the Die’s engraving, “Putti Playing”, 1530–60


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])

“Putti Playing” (TIB title) 1530–60, from the series of four prints published by Antoine Lafréry (c.1512–77). The curator of the BM advises that the series were “taken from part of a set of eight tapestries of games of putti woven for Leo X in Flanders in 1521 under the supervision of Tommaso Vincidor …The designs have been ascribed to Giovanni da Udine, using ideas from Raphael.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1468125&partId=1&searchText=1874,0808.272&page=1)

Engraving on heavy laid paper printed in a warm grey-black ink.
Size: (sheet) 19.5 x 29.3 cm; (plate) 18.7 x 28.5 cm; (image borderline) 18.3 x 28.2 cm.
Signed with master's monogram “B” on a dice at the feet of the putti second from the right.
Lettered at lower edge: (left) “Tapezzerie del Papa”.
State iii (of iii).

TIB 29 [15]. 30- [III] [206]) (Suzanne Boorsch [Ed.] 1982, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century”, vol. 29, Abaris Books, New York, p.187); Bartsch XV.206.30 (Adam Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre graveur”, vol. 15, Vienna)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Eight putti, the one in the middle holds an apple to his eye, one at the right goes to throw an arrow and in the lower left two make a garland” (BM number: 1875,0710.141)

Condition: crisp, and well-printed impression with small margins in excellent condition for its age (i.e. there is slight age toning but there are no tears, folds, holes, abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this exceptionally rare engraving 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$520 (currently US$392.30/EUR332.52/GBP296.31at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. (Note: this is the second copy of this rare pint that I have listed … the earlier listed copy has been sold)

If you are interested in purchasing this highly romantic engraving from the Renaissance era created only a few decades after the death of Raphael upon whose designs they are based, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


Based on my reading of Thomas P Campbell’s (Ed.) (2008) “Tapestry in the Baroque”, there is a distinction between images of little boys running amuck and little boys with tiny wings running amuck. They are definitely not the same: their motivations may be equally mischievous but perceived differently. For instance, Guilio Romano’s designs showing naked boys picking fruit and playing among trees I understand are “poetic” while the putti—naked boys with wings—are “sensuous.” Although I am not completely certain what attributes mark naked boys as being “poetic.”







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