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Wednesday 10 July 2024

Johann Wilhelm Baur’s etching, “Perseus Kills Medusa”, 1641

Johann Wilhelm Baur (aka Johann Wilhelm Bauer; Joan Guiliam Bouwer) (1607–1642)

“Perseus Kills Medusa”, 1641, plate 46 from the series of 148 illustrations to Ovid’s (43–17/18 BC) “Metamorphoses”, initially published in 1641 before the lines of Latin text were added in “Des vortrefflichen Römischen poëtens Publii Ovidii Nasonis Metamorphoseon, oder, funffzehen Bücher der Verwandlungen”. This impression is from the 1709 edition published by Pet. Detleffsen (and Jer. Wolff?) in Augsburg with the Latin text.

Note that Baur etched another plate with minor variations of the same composition published in 1639 in Vienna(?) as plate 47 to “Des vortrefflichen Römischen poëtens Publii Ovidii Nasonis Metamorphoseon, oder, funffzehen Bücher der Verwandlungen” (see

Note also that Abraham Aubry (fl. c1650) made etchings in reverse of Bauer’s designs published by Paulus Fürst (1608–1666) in Nuremberg in 1688.

Etching on fine laid paper with a small margin around the platemark and backed with a support sheet providing wide margins.

Size: (sheet) 15.4 x 22.8 cm; (plate) 13.3 x 20.8 cm; (image borderline) 12.7 x 20.6 cm.

Numbered and lettered in plate below the image borderline: (left) “Wil: Baur: In.” (left of centre) “Dum sopor altus habet metuendum crine Medusam,/ Callidus huic Perseus amputat ense caput.” ([trans] While deep slumber has the dreaded hair of Medusa, the cunning Perseus cuts off her head with his sword.); (right of centre) “Nox erat; aeq[ue] aliam magis interemisse Sororem/ Cum poterat, ratio est, prodita crine suo.” ([trans] It was night; It is reason that he killed another sister even more when he could, betrayed by his hair.); (right) “lib: 4.  46”.

State ii (of ii) with the addition of Latin text below the image borderline.

Bonnefoit R.165 (Régine Bonnefoit 1997, “Johann Wilhelm Baur (1607–1642). Ein Wegbereiter der barocken Kunst in Deutschland”, Tübingen, Ernst Wasmuth, cat. no. R 165); Hollstein 12.

See also Daniel Kinney’s marvellous documentation regarding Baurer’s series:

The British Museum offers the following description of this print from its first state: “Plate 46: Perseus kills Medusa; at right, two female figures are asleep underneath a canopy in a cave, one of which is Medusa, with snakes on her head; to the left is Perseus, brandishing a sword, his right arm outstretched; in the centre, a platform with a pot from which pours forth smoke. 1641/ Etching” (   

Condition: a strong and well-printed impression with a small margin (approx. 1 cm) around the platemark. The sheet is in an excellent condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or significant stains and is laid upon a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper providing wide margins.

I am selling this superb etching from 1641, showing Perseus about to behead the Medusa, for AU$232 in total (currently/approximately US$156.88/EUR144.69/GBP121.97 at the time of posting this listing) including Express Mail (EMS) postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries. Note that payment is in Australian dollars (AU$232) as this is my currency.

If you are interested in purchasing this dramatic scene from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”, 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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