Gallery of prints for sale

Friday 11 June 2021

Virgil Solis’ woodcut, “The Suicide of Saul”, c1560

Virgil Solis (1514–1562)

“The Suicide of Saul” (TIB title) (aka “Death of Saul”), c1560, from the series of 220 woodcuts published by Sigmund Feierabend (aka Sigmund Feyerabend; Sigismund Feyrabend) (1528–1590), printed by David Zöpfel (aka David Zephelius) (fl.c1555–1563) and Johann Rasch (fl.1556–1562) in Frankfurt am Main in “Biblische Figuren des Alten vnd Newen Testaments: gantz künstlich gerissen / durch den weitberhümpten Vergilium Solis zu Nürnberg.”

This woodcut illustrates versus 4–5 in “The Book of Samuel I” [Shmuel 1], chapter 31: “Then Saul said to his armour-bearer, ‘Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.’ But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him.” (

Woodcut with a separately printed woodcut border on laid paper trimmed with a small margin with Fraktur letterpress text verso.

Size: (sheet) 11.8 x 15.8 cm

Monogrammed in plate within the image borderline: (on shield at lower left) “VS”.

TIB 19.1.54 (316) (Jane S Peters [ed.] 1987, “The Illustrated Bartsch: German Masters of the Sixteenth Century: Virgil Solis: Intaglio Prints and Woodcuts”, vol. 19 [Part 1], p. 310, cat. no. 1.54 [316]).

Pitts Theological Library (Emery) offers a description of this print:

Condition: a richly inked impression printed with slightly uneven pressure with a narrow margin around the strapwork border in excellent condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling.

I am selling this bold composition showing both Saul and armour-bearer both falling onto their swords—note how the Saul’s sword aligns with the angle of a distant tree to create a diagonal line through the composition and how the angle of this continued line of sword and tree is parallel to the angle of a lance in the right corner of the design—for the total cost of AU$232 (currently US$180.27/EUR147.91/GBP127.23 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 marvellous woodcut from the mid-1500s with an equally interesting strapwork border—printed from a separate plate—designed to give importance and gravitas to the portrayed scene from the Bible—and no doubt to separate the illustration from the surrounding text—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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