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Wednesday 15 March 2023

Gérard de Lairesse’s etching, “Aeneas and the Cumaean Sibyl”, 1670

Gérard de Lairesse (1640–1711)

“Aeneas and the Cumaean Sibyl” (aka “Enée et la Sybille”; “Aeneas en de Sibille van Cumae”), 1670

Etching on laid paper trimmed around the platemark with a small margin, inscribed in ink in margin at lower right, “c[?]”, and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (support sheet) 39 x 33 cm; (sheet) 22.6 x 17.7 cm; (plate) 20.3 x 15.8 cm; (image borderline) 20 x 15.3 cm.

Inscribed in plate with the artist’s initials within the image borderline: (lower right corner) “G L.”

Inscribed in ink on the margin at lower right: “c[?]”.

State i (of ii) based on comparison with the first state impression held by the Rijksmuseum (inv. no. RP-P-OB-46,686).

Roy G.39 (Alain Roy 1992, “Gérard de Lairesse (1640–1711)”, Paris, Arthena, p. 433, cat. no. G.39); Holstein Dutch 54 (F.W.H. Hollstein 1953, “Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts ca. 1450-1700: L'Admiral - Lucas van Leyden”, vol., 10, Amsterdam, Menno Hertzberger, p. 17, cat. no. 54).

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print: (transl.) “Aeneas visits the Sibyl of Cumae to ask her to see his father's face one more time. Aeneas shows Sibyl here the golden branch that he had to find on her instructions in order to descend into the underworld. In the background, the dog Cerberus lies next to a river god” (

Condition: A strong impression showing no sign of wear to the printing plate. The sheet has pale surface staining and handling marks, otherwise the sheet is in a good condition for its age with no tears, holes, losses, abrasions or significant stains and has been laid upon a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper providing wide margins.

I am selling this finely executed etching showing a mythological scene from Virgil’s “Aeneid” where Aeneid arrives at Cumae to visit the Sibyl—the local prophetess/oracle sadly withering away after once agreeing to sleep with Apollo in exchange for everlasting life, but, after changing her mind, was granted instead everlasting life without everlasting youth and spent the rest of eternity shrivelling away to the point she was ultimately placed in a bottle—and is guided by her into the underworld, for the total cost of AU$288 (currently US$192.19/EUR179.03/GBP158.19 at the time of posting this print) including Express Mail (EMS) 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 small and beautiful etching from the mid-1600s, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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