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Friday 11 January 2019

Antonio Tempesta’s etching, “Civilis Floods the Land by Defensively Breaking the Dikes”, 1611

Antonio Tempesta (1555?–1630)

“Civilis Floods the Land by Defensively Breaking the Dikes” (TIB’s title) (aka “Civilis leaves the country under water” [Rijkesmuseum’s transl. title]), 1611, possibly after Otto van Veen (1556–1629) (according to the Rijksmuseum [see RP-P-OB-37,681]), plate 29 from the series of 37 plates (including the frontispiece/titlepage), “The War of the Romans against the Batavians” (Romanorvm et Batavorvm societas), published in the first edition without Latin text verso in 1612 in Antwerp.

Etching on laid paper trimmed along the platemark (or close to the image borderline) and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 16.9 x 21.4 cm; (image borderline) 14.7 x 20.9 cm.

Monogrammed on plate at lower left corner: “AT” (in ligature).
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (in four lines of Dutch text at left): “Civilis maeckt hem sterck by het Oudt legher, ende maeckt eenen / dyck, die den Ryn over t'landt doet loopen daer Cerialis lagh / men vecht in’t verdroncken landł, daer de Duytschen lanck van / persoon synde, ende den grondt kennende, de Romeynen doen wycken.”; (center within a circle) “29”; (in four lines of Latin text at right) “Civilis reparato per Germaniam exercitu apud Vetera con: / sedit, molem Rheno iniecit, ut aqua circumquaque stagnaret, / et Romani nandi ignari in aquis pugnarent. Germani / aquis exstantes et vadi gnari Romanos in fiugam pellunt.”

State i (of ii) Note: TIB lists this impression without Latin text verso as “SI I2” and the impressions with the text verso as “SI I1”. In the second state the plate is “heavily retouched” and with “PLANCHE XXIX. / BATAILLE DU PREMIER JOUR.” (among other changes). There is also a copy in the same direction executed by Joseph Mulder and inscribed, “I. Mulder fecit."  (see

TIB 35. 525 S1 12 (Eckhard Leuschner 2007, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Antonio Tempesta, vol. 35. Commentary, Part 2, New York, Abaris Books, p. 145); Bartsch 588 i/ii (Adam von Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre graveur,” Vienna); FMH 65-b (29) (Frederik Muller 1863–82, “The Dutch history in plates: reasoned description of Dutch history records …”, [4 vols], Amsterdam, dl. I [years 100 to 1702], p. 8, No. 65b [29]); Nagler XVIII.179.560-.595 (G K Nagler 1835–52, “Neus allgemeines Künstler-Lexicon” [22 vols.]).

The Rijksmuseum offers a description of this print:

See also the description at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Condition: superb lifetime impression from the first state that is richly inked, crisp and well-printed without Latin letterpress text verso. The sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing), trimmed along the platemark (or close to the image borderline) and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this superb first state/lifetime etching for the total cost of AU$207 (currently US$149.64/EUR129.71/GBP1116.73 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 graphically strong image full of swirling action, but without the extreme use of distortions typifying the earlier period style of Mannerism, and executed when Rembrandt was only a five-year-old boy, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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