Gallery of prints for sale

Friday 9 February 2018

(Publisher) Augustin Quesnel’s etching, “Vulcanus”, c1620

Unidentified artist
Augustin Quesnel (1595–1661) (publisher)

“Vulcanus” (aka “Vulcan" or “Hephaistos”), c1620, after Plidoro da Caravaggio (c1500–1536/7?) perhaps also after Raffaello Guidi (fl1585-1615) and Hendrik Goltzius (1558–1617) who both made interpretative prints after Polidoro da Caragaggio’s design.

Etching on laid paper trimmed along/near the platemark and re-margined on a support sheet.
Size: (support-sheet) 26.5 x 22 cm; (sheet) 9.9 x 7.8 cm
Inscribed on plate at lower right: “Aug. Ques. excud.”

Condition: a crisp, richly inked and excellent impression in near perfect condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, stains, foxing or significant signs of use) trimmed along the platemark laid upon an archival support sheet.

I am selling this little gem from the Renaissance era showcasing the interest in Roman gods for AU$189 (currently US$147.23/EUR120.30/GBP106.51 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost.

If you are interested in purchasing this print of Vulcan showing not only his attributes (the blacksmith’s hammer and casque) but also a landscape featuring a figure attending to, or collecting, Vulcan’s fire, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. 

This print has been sold

Sadly, I have been unable to establish the name of the etcher who made this small, but graphically strong, image of Vulcan, nevertheless, I have no problem attributing the original design to Polidoro da Caravaggio as there are two very famous prints after his design interpreted by Raffaello Guidi and Hendrik Goltzius. Despite the clear similarities in the way that Vulcan is portrayed in these prints, there is a significant difference in the contextual setting for the god that makes this composition unique: a landscape (or is it a seascape?) setting for Vulcan rather than the niche setting of Guidi and Goltzius.

What makes the landscape setting very interesting for me is that it celebrates Polidoro’s fascination with chiaroscuro (i.e. theatrical side lighting) and contre-jour effects (i.e.back lighting) the latter of which is not evident in the versions by Guidi and Goltzius. For those unfamiliar with Polidoro’s artwork, he is best known for his black and white frescoes. What has made Polidoro’s name most memorable is not what should make an artist famous: he was murdered by his studio assistant.

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