Gallery of prints for sale

Thursday 9 May 2019

Joseph Parrocel's etching, “Jesus Christ est tentè sur la Montagne”, c1661

Joseph Parrocel (1646–1704)

“Jesus Christ est tentè sur la Montagne” (Jesus Christ is Tempted on the Mountain), c1661, plate 29 from the series of 40 plates, “Les Miracles de la Vie de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ” (The Miracles of the Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ).

Etching on laid paper trimmed close to (or within) the plate mark and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 16.3 x 18.8 cm; (image borderline) 14.2 x 18 cm.
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline along the lower edge: (left) “J. Par. In. et f.”
(right) “C.P.R.”
Inscribed on plate below the image borderline: (left) “29”; (centre) “IESVS CHRIST est tentè sur la Montagne”; (right) “S. Math. Ch.4.”
State i (of ii) lifetime impression of the etched state of the plate before it was later engraved in the second state. Robert-Dumesnil in the catalogue raisonné for this set of prints advises that the first state impressions of “pure etching” are “rare.”
Arguably, this impression is very likely to have been printed by the artist’s own hand as the inventory of his possession (dated 16 July, 1704) reveals that the artist possessed in the cellar of his house a “press in oak wood” to print his plates.

Robert-Dumesnil 1838 81(29) (A P F Robert-Dumesnil 1838, Le Peintre-Graveur Français, vol. 3, Paris, pp. 277–78, cat. no. 81 [29]).

Robert-Dumesnil in the catalogue raisonné offers the following description of this print:
(Google transl.) “CHRIST is tempted on the mountain. S. Math. Ch. 4. (29) A wild site strewn with rocks at the bottom, where on the left rises a bunch of slender trees, one of whose broken trunks has fallen across the [path].  A high mountain occupies the right ….  At the top Our Lord is seen sitting looking to the left where, in space, Beelzebub flies away” (pp. 277–78).

See a related brush drawing by Parrocel (“Le Diable tente Jésus jeûnant dans le désert, sur la montagne”) held by the Louvre (RF 41516, Recto):

For those unfamiliar with the episode in the Bible illustrated here by Parrocel (viz. Matthew 4: 8-11), the following translation is offered by the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible:

8 “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour.
9 ’All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’
10 Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”

Condition: richly inked crisp and near faultless impression of the utmost rarity, trimmed near the platemark and backed with a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The lower right corner is chipped; otherwise, the sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, folds, holes, abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this first state etching before it was later “finished” with engraving, for AU$220 in total (currently US$153.43/EUR137.10/GBP118.10 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 exceptionally rare old master print, 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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