Gallery of prints for sale

Monday 16 September 2019

Joseph Parrocel's etching, “Baptism of Christ”, c1661

Joseph Parrocel (1646–1704)

“Baptism of Christ” (aka “Jesus Christ is baptized by Saint John”; “Baptême du Christ” [Louvre title]), c1661, plate 4 from the series of forty 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 within the plate mark and backed with a support sheet.
Compare trimmed losses with the impression held by the Musée du Louvre, Département des Arts graphiques (RF 41551.9):
Size: (sheet) 15.4 x 16.4 cm.
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline along the lower edge: (left) “I. Par. in. et f.”; (right) “C.P.R.”
Inscribed on plate below the image borderline: “IESVS CHRIST est baptize par Sainct Jean”.

State i (of ii) lifetime impression of the etched state of the plate before it was later engraved in the second state with significant changes to Christ’s position (see discussion further below).
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 44(4) (A P F Robert-Dumesnil 1838, Le Peintre-Graveur Français, vol. 3, Paris, p. 266, cat. no. 44 [4]).

Robert-Dumesnil in the catalogue raisonné (1838) offers the following description of this print:
(Transl.) “The Redeemer standing in the Jordan, in the middle of the print, receives the holy water that John, kneeling to his left, pours on him, looking up to heaven where God the Father and the Holy Spirit appear surrounded by a celestial legion. Two great angels are prostrate at the bottom left.” (p. 266).

Interestingly, Christ’s position shown in this impression is changed significantly in the second state as described by Robert-Dumesnil (1838):
(Transl.) “Christ inclines his head to the left, to the two prostrate angels.”
(See a second state impression held by the Louvre:

Condition: a superb, richly inked and well-printed impression of the utmost rarity, trimmed within the platemark with losses to the sides and lower text lines and backed with a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, 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$151.18/EUR136.97/GBP121.47 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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