Saturday 21 December 2019
Gilles Rousselet's etching, “The Denial of St Peter”, c 1638
Gilles Rousselet (aka Aegidius Rousselet) (1610– 1686)
“The Denial of St Peter” (aka “The Crying St Peter”), c.1638, after Claude Vignon (1593–1670), with dedication to the Chancellor of France, Pierre Séguier (1588–1672), and bearing Séguier’s coat of arms (see a bound book at Edward Worth Library bearing the Chancellor's coat of arms: https://edwardworthlibrary.ie/book-of-the-month/2013-books-of-the-month/2013-august-seguier-binding/), published by Jean Le Blond I (aka Jean Leblond) (c.1590/1594–1666) in Paris. I propose that the date of this print must be no later than 1638 as Rousselet ceased working with the publisher Le Blond (inscribed on plate) in 1638 and he commenced working with the publisher, Pierre Mariette I (c.1603–1657), after this date.
Regarding the dedication of this print to Pierre Séguier, the artist may have been seeking patronage from the Chancellor who was famous at the time for fostering of “scholarly colloquia” and his extensive collection of artworks—books, manuscripts, porcelain and silverware (see Edward Worth Library [ibid.]). This desire for patronage from Séguier was not an uncommon practice, as the Edward Worth Library advises that given Séguier’s position, “many books had been specifically dedicated to him by writers hoping to attract his patronage” (ibid.).
The scene depicted in this print relates to St Peter’s denial of Jesus in the four Canonical Gospels of the Bible, as explained by Bible Study Tools: “… during Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples, he predicted that Peter would deny knowledge of him, stating that Peter would disown him before the rooster crowed the next morning. Following the arrest of Jesus, Peter denied knowing him three times, but after the third denial heard the rooster crow and recalled the prediction as Jesus turned to look at him. Peter then began to cry bitterly.”
Etching and engraving on laid paper trimmed with a narrow margin around the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 38.9 x 29.4 cm; (plate) 38.5 x 28.5 cm; (image borderline) 34.2 x 27.9 cm.
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (centre in three lines of Latin broken with the coat of arms of Pierre Séguier at centre) “Illvstrissimo Viro, […] Domino, d. Petro Segvier,/ Franciæ Cancellario, [...] Artium Fautori et Mæcenati,/ hanc Diui Petri tabelllam, [...] ære incisam, DD.”; (left) “Cum Priuilegio Regis Chr.”; (centre) “Vignon Inuentor […] Ægid. Rousselet Sculpcit.”; (right) “Obsequentissimus Cliens,/ I. Le Blond, Pictor Regius.”
Condition: richly inked, early impression (based on the crisp lines showing no sign of wear to the printing plate) with a collector’s stamp verso, trimmed with narrow margins and laid onto a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. There are chips, tears and restored losses to the outer edges of the sheet. There is also restoration to flattened folds within the image area.
I am selling this strong and visually arresting etching executed by “one of the pioneers of the grand style in seventeenth-century engraving” (see Véronique Meyer’s (1985) journal article, “The Inventory of Gilles Rousselet (1610–1686)” in “Print Quarterly”, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 299–308), for AU$274 (currently US$189.20/EUR170.79/GBP145.48 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 boldly dramatic etching showing St. Peter at the moment of recalling Christ’s words that he would “disown him before the rooster crowed”, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold