Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Johann Jacob von Sandrart’s etching, “The Fire in the Borgo”, 1682, after Raphael

Johann Jacob von Sandrart (aka Johann Jakob von Sandrart) (1655–1698)

“The Fire in the Borgo”, 1682, published by Joachim von Sandrart (1606–1688) as Plate 0 (as numbered at upper right) to “Academia Nobilissimae Artis Pictoriae”, printed by Christian Frober (aka Christian Froberger) (fl.c.1675–1700) in 1683, in Nuremberg, after a detail of Raphael’s (aka Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino) (1483–1520) design for the fresco of the same name executed in 1514 that is argued to be painted by Raphael’s assistant, Giulio Romano (aka Giulio Pippi) (c1499–1546) in the Stanza dell'Incendio di Borgo, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican.

(Note: I may be wrong, but based on a copy of the publication in which this etching features that was auctioned by Christie’s (30 April 2008, London), I believe that there are 47 plates with 3 double-page illustrations—this print being one of these larger plates as there is a centrefold that is now flattened.)

Etching on heavy laid paper with full margins as published. The print consists of two plates abutted: a plate with the image and a plate with the lettered text below it.
Size: (sheet) 50.3 x 39 cm; (abutted plates) 46.8 x 32.7 cm; (image borderline) 41.1 x 31.6 cm
Numbered on plate above the image borderline: (right corner) “0”.
Inscribed on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Raphael d'Urbino pinxit.”; (right) “Joh. Jac: de Sandrart delineavit et sculpsit Norimb. 1682”
Lettered on plate in five lines of Latin text on a separate abutted plate: “Sereniffimo … / … / … / … / … / … confecratq”; (left of centre) “Sereniffimæ Celfitudinis Veftra”; (right) “cultor demiffiffimus / Ioh. Iacobus a Sandrart.” (My apologies if there are errors in my reading of the letters).

Hollstein 350.II

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“The fire in the Borgo; after Raphael; with various figures fleeing through an archway and over a wall to right in foreground; in left background the burning city …”

Condition: an almost faultless—well-inked and well-printed—impression that is in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, creases—beyond the now flattened centrefold of publication—abrasions, stains or foxing) for the considerable age of the print. The sheet is backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this large etching of exceptional quality and very rare—note that the Rijksmuseum does not hold a copy—for the total cost of AU$246 (currently US$181.50/EUR156.41/GBP137.96 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this marvellously intriguing image executed by one of the major oldmaster German printmakers of the 17th century, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

This scene of tumultuous chaos shows fleeing naked Romans with Michelangelesque physiques escaping the AD 847 fire in the Borgo—an area near the Basilica of St Peter in Rome. For sensitive folk that shudder on seeing other folk in distress, you may relax as I can confirm that Pope Leo IV interceded with his faith to extinguish the blaze … but his prayers were sadly ineffective in stopping the old Basillica of St Peter—which may be seen through the gap in the broken wall—from being reduced to rubble (see the Web Gallery of Art for a thorough explanation about the fire and Raphael’s painting:  

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