Saturday, 14 July 2018

Abraham Blooteling’s engraving, “Table 104: Shank Bones”, 1690


Abraham Blooteling (aka Abraham Bloteling; Abraham Blotelingh; Abraham Blootelingh) (1640–1690) and Pieter Stevens van Gunst (aka Pieter van Gunst) (1658/ 59–c1731)

“Table 104: Shank Bones”, 1690, after the drawing in the Ecole de Médicine, Paris, by Gerard de Lairesse (1640/41–1711) as plate 104 in Govard Bidloo’s (1649–1713) famous anatomical atlas, “Anatomia humani corporis / Ontleding des menschelyken lichaams", first published by the widow (de Weduwe van Joannes van Someren) (fl. after 1679) of Johan van Someren (1622–1676) in 1685. This is impression is from the 1734 edition published by Jacob van Poolsum (1701–1762) in Utrecht.

Note that William Cowper (c. 1666 - 1709) also published a later edition of the prints in 1739; see the description of the controversy about the Cowper ediion offered by The Print Collector: http://www.theprintscollector.com/Article/Antique-Medical-Print-FOETUS-ABDOMEN-Cowper-Bidloo-1739

Etching and engraving on cream laid paper with 2.5 cm chain-lines and the watermark, “Fleur-de-Lis on a Crowned Shield.”
Size: (sheet) 48.7 x 31.3 cm; (plate) 44.1 x 27.4 cm
Numbered on plate at upper right corner: “T. 104” and indexed with figures from “Fig. 1” to “Fig 3” and letters from “A” to “C”.

Condition: faultless, crisp and well-printed impression with minor marks appropriate to the age of the print and a nick to the upper right edge otherwise the sheet is in near perfect condition.

(Note that this extraordinary engraving has been listed previously, but I have washed it recently—with only water and no chemicals. The print is now in a superb condition.)

I am selling this large masterpiece of anatomical engraving illustrating four bones with the curiously interesting addition of knotted twine attaching the bones to the ground support, for AU$485 (currently US$360.22/EUR308.17/GBP272.17 at the time of posting this listing) 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 extraordinary and technically magnificent print, 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


Arguably, this is the finest engraving of bones that one could ever hope to see. The bones portrayed (according to the original text) illustrate “the Fore-part of the Right Tibia, or Major Focile of the Leg.”

From a personal way of looking at these bones, I am intrigued by the depicted knots that bind the bones to their backing support. Shamefully my mind has created a vision of the person who originally made these knots cursing that not enough twine remained to tie "proper"/double-looped knots for the three left bones as only the one on the right is happily blessed with a double bow.

The issue of bone on the right having a double bow is curious for yet another reason: the engraver has not portrayed the cast shadow of the bow. This is curious as he rendered the cast shadow of the single looped bow on the bone next to the right bone. Strange. Clearly the addition of the bows was an afterthought …but they were a wonderful afterthought!







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