Friday 28 June 2019
Raimond La Fage's etching, “Le Serpent d'Airain”
Raimond La Fage (aka Raymond La Fage; Nicolas Raymond La Fage; Raymond de Lafage; Remond La Fage) (1656-1684)
“Le Serpent d'Airain” (aka “The Brazen Serpent”; “Moses and the Serpent of Brass”), c1683, plate 20 (as inscribed on plate) from the series, “Recueil des meilleurs desseins de Raimond La Fage” (Compendium of the best designs of Raimond La Fage), originally published by Jan van der Bruggen (aka Jean Vander Bruggen; Jean van der Bruggen) (1648/49–1690) and later by Gerard Valck (aka Gerard Valk) (1651/52–1726). This impression is from the Valck edition.
Etching on laid paper, backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 63.7 x 49.2 cm; (plate) 57.5 x 43.5 cm.
Lettered on plate below the image: (left) “Remond le Fage fecit”; (centre) “Le Serpent d’Airain. Liu des Nombres Ch. 21.”; (right) “a Amsterdam, chez Gerard Valck, avec Previlege.”
State ii? (of ii?) after burnishing of the earlier publishers’ name (“Jean Vander Bruggen”) and the addition of Valck’s name.
Note: Franz Ertinger (1648–1710) etched another composition of “The Brazen Serpent” (https://www.aucklandartgallery.com/explore-art-and-ideas/artwork/2551/le-serpent-dairain-the-brazen-serpent) based on a drawing by Raimond La Fage (https://art.rmngp.fr/fr/library/artworks/raymond-de-lafage_moise-et-le-serpent-d-airain_sanguine), but the present etching is by the hand of La Fage as inscribed on the plate at lower left: “Remond ls Fage fecit”.
Condition: richly inked and well-printed impression with flattened folds marks (as published?) laid upon a support sheet of fine archival/millennium quality washi paper. There are tears following the original fold marks and there are a few small holes but these issues are addressed by the support sheet; otherwise the print is in a good clean condition for its considerable age.
I am selling this huge etching executed with freely laid strokes exemplifying the artist’s unhesitating ease with portraying a biblical event from the Books of Kings (2 Kings 18:4) (Numbers 21:4-9) where Moses erects a brass sculpture of a snake and advises his followers to gaze upon it so that they would not be harmed by the “fiery serpents” sent by God to bite those who were grumbling about the hardships that they were experiencing during their exodus from Egypt—my apologies if my version of the story is not quite correct—for AU$360 (currently US$252.40/EUR221.63/GBP199.17 at the time of 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 rare, beautiful and insightfully executed etching—note the artist’s skill in portraying figures by drawing the contours of their muscles to create silhouette outlines in three-dimensional space—please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold