Sunday 4 June 2017
François Collignon’s engraving, “The Queen of Sheba before Solomon”, 1631
François Collignon (aka Louis François Collignon) (c.1610–87)
“The Queen of Sheba before Solomon”, 1631, after a wall painting, now destroyed, on the wall of the prison behind the Town Hall of Augsburg by Johann Matthias Kager (1575–1634)
Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed unevenly along the platemark and lined onto a conservator’s support sheet.
Size: (sheet trimmed unevenly) 10 x 33.5 cm
Inscribed below the image borderline: (left) “Inuenit. Malthaus Kager / Senatorij Ordinis”; (translated at centre) “For wisdom is better than all the most precious things, and whatsoever may be desired cannot be compared to it. Proverb 8:11”; (right) “Francisco Collignon Nanceianus, quj et sculpsit Augustra A. 1631.”
T.B.VII.227 and XIX.432
The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers a description of this print (without image); see: http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/365711
This print is also discussed in “The Metropolitan Museum Journal”, vol. 6, 1972, pp. 82–3, regarding the exchanges of riddles between the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. The complete journal is available online at: https://issuu.com/alf219/docs/the_metropolitan_museum_journal_v.0_d0f47330dfda6e
Condition: excellent impression in superb (almost pristine) condition. The sheet is trimmed unevenly along the platemark and is laid upon a conservator’s support sheet of fine washi paper.
I am selling this rare and visually arresting engraving from the early 17th century for the total cost of AU$176 (currently US$130.84/EUR116/GBP101.48 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable image of a painting that once graced a prison wall in Augsburg, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold
Sometimes when I research the background to a print I sit back in wonderment when everything fits neatly into some form of logical order and I think to myself “my ducks are all in a row!” Well … when I was looking into the career background for the artist who executed this unusually long print I had one of these eureka moments of “aha!” At this point, however, I should backtrack to the reason that I originally acquired this print to help explain my moment of satisfaction.
When I first saw this engraving I was curious about why an artist would choose such a long format and fill it literally to the brim with tiny figures. Beyond my interest being piqued by its unusual shape and the number of figures portrayed, my real motivation to own it was all about the almost microscopically fine treatment of the figures. To my eyes this was/is a remarkable print! I loved the fact that an artist would have such discipline—and skill—to make such a creation.
Now to the “moment of aha” and the reason all my ducks are now in order: the format shape of the print with its panoramic scope of what a viewer can look at and the fineness of the drawing make sense to me because I read that the artist, François Collignon, was taught by Jacques Callot (1592–1635)—a true master who is famous for his long panoramic views and fine handling of line.
Not only did Collignon study under Callot for four years as an apprentice, but Collignon also worked with Israel Henriet in handling Callot’s estate when the great master died. Although I am not privy to whether or not Collignon was influenced by Callot, to my eyes the stylistic cannibalism is very evident. For instance, note in the rendering of light and shade on the columns how Collignon endeavoured to swell his line—a hallmark of Callot’s style. Note also the differences in the depth of the lines from deep and dark strokes in the foreground to much shallower and paler strokes in the distance. Again, a hallmark of Callot’s style.