Saturday, 13 October 2018

Jacob Matham’s engraving, “Hope”, 1597, after Hendrik Goltzius


Jacob Matham (1571–1631)

“Hope” (aka “L’espérance” [Bartsch title]; “Spes”), 1597, after Hendrik Goltzius (aka Hendrick Goltzius) (1558–1617), plate 2 from the series of seven engravings, “The Virtues” (half-length), with a verse by Cornelis Schonaeus (1541–1611), published Hendrik Goltzius in Haarlem.

Note: the Curator of the British Museum advises that the series “was first published by Goltzius in Haarlem in 1597; later by Robert de Baudous around 1615; by Johannes Janssonius in Amsterdam (before 1664); by Pieter de Reyger (before 1677); and finally by Gerard Valck (before 1729)” (see BM no. 1857,0613.494).

Engraving on laid paper trimmed along the platemark and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 15.1 x 10.6 cm; (image borderline) 13.4 x 10.4 cm
Numbered on the plate within the image (on anchor): "2”
Lettered below the image borderline in two lines of Latin text (composed by Cornelis Schonaeus): “Mærentes recreo, vite ne tedeat egre, / Adverse prebens solati dulcia sortis.”
State i (of ii) before the addition of the publisher’s address.

TIB 4 (3). 118 (163) (Walter L Strauss [ed.] 1980, "The Illustrated Bartsch 4: Netherlandish Artists”, vol. 4. Abaris Books, New York, p. 108); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 139.I (Jacob Matham); Hollstein 257.I; New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 505-511 (Hendrick Goltzius; Prints after inventions by Goltzius); Bartsch III.163.118.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 2: Hope. A female figure, half-length looking up to right, with an upturned anchor, in a grotto with the sea in the distance and a ship; first state before publisher's address; after Goltzius. 1597”

See also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: crisp, first state (lifetime) impression trimmed to the platemark and laid upon an archival support sheet of millennium quality washi paper. The lower-left corner is fractured and there is a pale area of discolouration on the boat portrayed in the distance otherwise the sheet is in very good condition.

I am selling this sensitively executed and elegant engraving exemplifying the period style of Mannerism of the late 16th century, for AU$357 in total (currently US$254.06/EUR219.61/GBP193.21 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this rare first state engraving personifying the virtue of hope, 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


For those who may be wondering why the personification of the virtue of hope—shown here—is carrying an anchor and the significance of the boat in the far distance, the explanation is simple: an anchor symbolises a sailor’s last resort (i.e. hope) to survive storms. Hence the mythological goddess representing hope holds an anchor with a boat behind her. Interestingly, Goltzius in his design for this particular goddess has gone a step further in symbolising a sailor’s hope. From my reading of this image, Golzius’ choice to turn the anchor “upside down” and to add a spiritually transcendent facial expression to the goddess brings together a sailor’s hope with Christian symbolism. What I mean by this is that the upturned anchor references the Christian cross and the goddess’ somewhat theatrical expression with upcast eyes references the early images of Christ’s spiritual transcendence in accordance with the verse from Hebrews 6:19 (NIV translation): "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul …”







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