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Friday 23 February 2018

Daniel Hopfer’s etching, “Pharisees and clerics roaming the land to gather followers”, panel 3 from “The Seven Woes”, c1520

Daniel Hopfer (1471–1536)

“Pharisees and clerics roaming the land to gather followers” (British Museum’s descriptive title, see BM no. 2004,U.49), c1520, panel 3 (upper-right of centre) of 8 panels, from the large composite etching, “The Seven Woes” or “Matthew 23.13ff” (Bartsch title) (aka “Les vices que Jésus Christ reproche aux scribes et aux pharisiens …” [The vices that Jesus Christ reproaches the scribes and the Pharisees …]), c1520, published by David Funck (fl1682–1709) at Nuremberg in the 17th century in “Opera Hopferiana.”

Iron etching on heavy laid paper trimmed with a small margin around the borderline and stamped in ink verso with a collector’s monogram.
Size: (sheet) 13.6 x 9.6 cm; (image borderline) 12.8 x 9 cm
Signed on plate below image borderline with trimmed monogram at lower left and inscribed within the image borderline with the corresponding passage from Matthew 23.

Regarding the publication of the Hopfer’s etchings, Robert A Koch (1981) in Vol. 7 of TIB advises in his editor’s note: “In the 17th century a Nuremberg publisher named David Funck numbered 230 of [… Hopfer’s] plates and issued a volume entitled ‘Opera Hopferiana.’ In 1802 a publisher named C. Wilhelm Silberberg in Frankfurt-am-Main reissued 92 plates with the Funck numbers in a volume which he also entitled ‘Opera Hopferiana.’ These plates were printed on unnumbered pages of a heavy wove paper.” Mindful of the two editions, as this impression is on wove paper it is from Funck's 17th century edition.

Hollstein 34.I; Bartsch (1803) VIII.481.31; TIB (1981) 17.31; Eyssen 32

The British Museum offers the following description of the composite print in which this panel features:
“The seven woes; eight illustrations to Mathew 23, 13-31; with Christ showing the apostles the misdeeds of the pharisees, scribes and contemporary clerics. Etching”
Condition: richly inked and crisp impression trimmed with margins near the image borderline in faultless condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling). There is an ink collector’s stamp verso.

I am selling this panel from a larger composite etching of eight panels by the first artist to use etching for prints on paper, for the total cost of AU$334 (currently US$261.53/EUR212.34/GBP187.13 at the time of posting this) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this important old-master print, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

This panel is one of the eight panels of the composite etching “seven woes” (i.e. vices) that Christ reproached the “scribes and the Pharisees” in his teachings. The fact that there are eight panels rather than seven is an inconvenient truth in that there is inconsistency in the numbers of woes cited in the gospels (viz. Matthew has eight woes—Mathew 23, verses 13 to 16, 23, 25, 27 and 29—and these are illustrated in the composite print; Luke has only six woes).

For those who may not be acquainted with the woes that Christ identified in his criticism of hypocrisy and perjury, the following verses may be helpful.

Matt. 23:13 (the first woe) “They taught about God but did not love God …”

Matt. 23.15 (the third woe—illustrated by this print) “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”

Matt. 23:25–26 (the sixth woe and my favourite) “They presented an appearance of being ‘clean’ (self-restrained, not involved in carnal matters), yet they were dirty inside: they seethed with hidden worldly desires, carnality. They were full of greed and self-indulgence.”

(Note that there is a very good chance that I have given the wrong “woe” as the third one and my apologies if this is the case.)

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