Thursday, 25 January 2018

Cornelis Bos’ engraving, “Ornamental panel of grotesques in the style of the Vatican Loggie”, 1548


Cornelis Bos (aka Cornelis Bosch; Cornelis Bus) (c1515–1556) or by an unidentified artist after Bos

“Ornamental panel of grotesques in the style of the Vatican Loggie” (descriptive title only), 1548, from the series of 6 plates, “Frisians with grotesques, scrolls, fantasy animals, animals and scrolls”
Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed unevenly within the platemark and re-margined with a support sheet.
Size: (support-sheet) 21.7 x 23.9 cm; (sheet trimmed unevenly) 4.2 x 7.8 cm
Inscribed on plate: (upper left) “1548”; (upper right) “C B”

Ref: Irene Margaretha de Groot 1988, “Ornamentprenten in het Rijksprentenkabinet”, Amsterdam.
See the description of this print at the Riksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.445306.

Condition: crisp impression without significant wear but trimmed within the platemark and re-margined on a support sheet. The sheet is in good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing) with minor signs of use.

I am selling this VERY small engraving from the Renaissance era—interestingly it was executed at the very time that Michelangelo had just commenced working on his sculpture, “The Deposition” (aka “Bandini Pietà” or “The Lamentation over the Dead Christ”)—for AU$189 (currently US$152.71/EUR123.04/GBP107.11 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost of shipping.

If you are interested in acquiring this exceptional rare and early engraving, 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


Mindful that Bos was expelled from Antwerp for heresy only four years before he executed this tiny ornamental panel, just looking at the whimsical grotesques involved in the design gives a good idea that he liked to push boundaries. For example, note the close—but not inoffensively close—arrangement of vines bound together by the hole in the portrayed strapwork near the crotch of the naked female at the centre of the composition. I must say at this point, however, that Bos’ designs are far less sexually explicit than similar panels of grotesques by artists like Heinrich Aldegrever executed around the same time; see for example http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.322645.

What makes Bos’ ornamental panels different and delicately elegant by comparison with the densely worked compositions of his contemporaries is the suggestion of airy three-dimensional space. What I mean by this comment is that Bos chooses to leave the backgrounds of his designs blank (as opposed to the darkly cross-hatched backgrounds of Aldegrever) and to ”weave” various pictorial elements, like the vines, so that they flow in three-dimensions. One feature of the weaving that I find particularly intriguing is the tail of the bird on the left. This tail creates a marvellous optical illusion as it is shown in front of the scrolled strap and yet the bird is perched behind the strap.






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