Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Leonhard Beck’s woodcut after Hans Burgmair
Leonhard Beck (1475/80–1542)
"Frederick III and Maximilian I", 1514–16, after Hans Burgmair (1473–1553), from ”Der Weisskunig” (the white, or wise, king), documenting an idealised biography of Emperor Maximilian as the “Young White King”, Frederick (his father), as the “Old White King” and the King of France (Louis XI) as the “Blue King.” (Note that my attribution of this print to “Der Weisskunig” is driven by the subject matter portrayed, the raised (aerial) viewpoint, along with superficial details, such as the distinctive markings shown on the floor. In short, I may be incorrect.)
Fragment of a larger woodcut (H.11) on tan laid paper trimmed to the image borderline.
Size: (sheet) 22.1 x 8.9 cm
Regarding signature marks on Bleck’s woodcut prints, the British Museum offers the following information:
“Of the numerous woodcuts by Beck, only three are signed with his monogram, a title-page to Geyler von Kaisersberg's 'Das Schiff der Penitenz', 1514 and two subjects from 'Die Weisskunig'; five other blocks for this latter series are signed on the back: "Beckh" (Vienna, Albertina). After Hans Burgkmair, Beck was the most productive designer of woodcuts for the imperial commissions of Maximilian I during the second decade of the sixteenth century.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/term_details.aspx?bioId=132916)
For more bibliographical information about Bleck see: G.Messling, “Der Augsburger Maler und Zeichner Leonhard Beck und sein Umkreis”, Dresden 2006; G.Messling, New Hollstein German, Leonhard Beck, 2.vols, 2007.
Condition: crisp impression, trimmed to the image borderline. The sheet is in superb condition for its age (i.e. there are no tears, holes, losses, foxing, stains, abrasions or creases).
I am selling this remarkably well preserved woodcut from the early 16th century for AU$122 in total (currently US$93.47/EUR83.44/GBP71.89 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this beautiful and historically significant woodcut, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold
The Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I (1459–1519), had a grand vision of how prints could be used to archive and chronicle his achievements. His major woodcut projects, the “Triumphal Arch” and the “Triumph of Maximilian”, overseen by Durer, are arguably the largest and most ambitious composite print images ever created.
Maximilian’s interest in printmaking is historically important, because his vision was the catalyst for a whole generation of artists like the designer of this print, Hans Burgmair (1473–1553), and scores of other woodcut artists—many of whom history has forgotten—into the industry of printmaking.
Leonhard Beck, who executed this print, may not be as famous as Burgmair, nevertheless he is remembered for the high order of technical skill and subtlety of treatment in rendering his portrayed subjects. His choices may be guided by intuition—for instance, where he chooses to pictorially crop the right figure’s foot by the borderline so that the figure does not appear maimed but rather slightly animated—but the result is what marks him as a master.