Thursday, 23 August 2018

Abraham Bosse’s etching, “The Parting of Joan (of Arc) and Charles VII”, 1656


Abraham Bosse (1604?–1676)

“The Parting of Joan and Charles VII”, 1654–1656, after Claude Vignon (1593–1670), tenth plate from the series of thirteen illustrations to the poem by Jean Chapelain (1595–1674), “Joan of Arc, or France Liberated” (La Pucelle ou La France delivrée), published in Paris by Augustin Courbe in 1656. Note: the contract signed between Chapelain and Bosse for illustrating Chapelain’s poem was signed on 15 april 1654, consequently the print must have been executed between 1654 and 1656 (see the BM curator’s comment for the frontispiece to the print series: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1345434&partId=1&searchText=1895,1031.60&page=1).

Etching on fine laid paper with full margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 35.5 x 23.6 cm; (plate) 26.4 x 18.6 cm; (image borderline) 26 x 18.3 cm
Inscribed on plate below the image borderline: (left) “C. Vignon jn.”; (right) “ABosse Scul.”

Lothe 2008 1056 (José Lothe 2008, “L'Oeuvre gravé d'Abraham Bosse graveur parisien du XVIIe siècle”, Paris Musées, Paris); Duplessis 1859 1157 (Georges Duplessis 1859, “Catalogue de l'oeuvre grave”, Paris); Blum 1924 679 (André Blum 1924, “L'Oeuvre gravé d'Abraham Bosse”, Paris).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“The parting of Joan of Arc and Charles VII, both on horseback; above Joan of Arc, angels protecting her.”

Condition: well-printed lifetime impression (based on the crisp quality of the lines showing no wear to the plate) with full margins in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing but there are minor signs of handling appropriate to the age of the print).

I am selling this very rare print exemplifying Bosse’s leaning to the Baroque period style for AU$256 in total (currently US$186.20/EUR160.82/GBP144.74 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 remarkable etching that exhibits the artist’s skill in mimicking the tapered lines of an 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


When I initially began my research into this eye-catching print full of swirling Baroque rhythms and blazing light, I simply accepted the technical description of it offered by the Wesleyan University’s Davison Art Centre (http://dac-collection.wesleyan.edu/Obj2876) that the print is an engraving. After moving my investigations to the print's description at the British Museum (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1466141&partId=1&searchText=Abraham+BOSSE+vignon&page=1) a problem arose:  this august institution advised that the print is an etching. Mmm … I needed to put on my thinking cap!

The issue of conflicting descriptions was not hard to understand as the Davison Art Centre’s determination was correct in that the ends of the printed lines seen under magnification do indeed have tapered ends—an attribute of engraving. The British Museum is also correct as the depth and richness of the lines point to the print being an etching. At this moment of quandary I remembered a VERY important achievement of Abraham Bosse who executed the print: he (along with Callot) was one of the first printmakers to “fake” the appearance of engraved lines using the process of etching. In fact he was so skilled in emulating the “look” of engraving in an etching and had such a deep understanding of the intricacies of the various printmaking processes that he even published the first “how to do it” manual on intaglio printmaking techniques: “On the Manner of Etching with Acid and with a Burin, and of Dark-Manner Engraving” (De la Manière de graver à l’eau-forte et au burin, et de la gravure en manière noire), Paris, 1645 (see https://risdmuseum.org/art_design/objects/2752_on_the_manner_of_etching_with_acid_and_with_a_burin_and_of_dark_manner_engraving?context=224&type=exhibitions







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