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Thursday, 19 September 2019

Jacob Matham's engraving, “The Four Elements”, 1588


(attrib.) Jacob Matham (1571–1631)

“The Four Elements”, 1588, after Hendrik Goltzius (aka Hendrick Goltzius) (1558–1617), plate 1 from the series of eight engravings (TIB 278–283), “Mythological Subjects”, published by Hendrik Goltzius in Haarlem.

Engraving on laid paper trimmed along the image borderline (with the text lines) and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 30.2 x 21 cm; (image borderline) 29.3 x 21 cm.
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline along lower edge: (left): "1”; (right) “HGoltzius inue./ et excud. Ao. 1588”.
Inscribed on plate below the image borderline in two lines of Latin text in two columns: “Sub cęlo Pater omnipotens Elementa …/ …// …/ …Nectar alit.”
State i (of iii) before the change of the publisher’s address.

TIB 4 (3). 278 (200) (Walter L Strauss [ed.] 1980, "The Illustrated Bartsch 4: Netherlandish Artists”, vol. 4, New York, Abaris Books, p. 255, cat. No. 278 [200]); New Hollstein Dutch 348-1(3) (Huigen Leeflang [ed.] Léna Widerkehr [comp.] 2007–08, “The New Hollstein : Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450-1700: Jacob Matham”, vol. 3, Ouderkerk aan den IJssel, Sound and Vision, p. 101, cat. no. 348); Hollstein 237.I; Hollstein 266-273 (after Goltzius); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 641.I (Hendrick Goltzius; Prints after inventions by Goltzius).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 1: The Four Elements. Allegorical scene with Fire in top right corner (as naked man with flaming crown, seated on a dragon and holding a rock and lightning in his hands), Air in top left corner (as a naked woman with cloudy hair, seated on billowing clouds, a lizard on her right hand), Earth in lower left corner (as a man, seen from behind, with plants on his head and holding reed and fruits), Water at centre (as a naked woman with a model of a ship on her head and holding a conch); first state published by Goltzius; after Goltzius.”

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
(Transl.) “The four elements Earth, Water, Air and Fire, personified as two female and two male figures. Left in the foreground, seen from the back, is Earth (Terra) with grain shovels in his hand. Water (Aqua) is also in the foreground as a female figure with a ship on her head and a stream beside her. In the sky between the clouds is Lucht (Aer) with a chameleon on her hand. At the back right a male figure depicting Fire (Ignis), sitting on a dragon and on his head a crown of flames. The sun is behind his head.”

Condition: richly inked and well-printed first state (lifetime) impression trimmed to the image borderline and laid upon an archival support sheet of millennium quality washi paper. There are restorations to the lower left corner, the text box below the image borderline and the upper corners.

I am selling this superb engraving, glowing with strong tonal contrast and exemplifying the period style of Mannerism of the late 16th century, for AU$420 in total (currently US$285.38/EUR258.30/GBP227.81 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 four elements, 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











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