Tuesday, 10 July 2018
Hans Weiditz’s woodcut, “Sheep shearing, milking and butchery …”, 1514–1522/1532
Hans Weiditz (II) (aka Master of Petrach) (1495–1537)
“Sheep shearing, milking and butchery with a pictorial narrative about a king in the distance” (descriptive title only), 1514–1522 and/or 1532, woodcut illustration to Petrach's (aka Francesco Petrarca) (1304–1374) “The Artzney Bayder Glück” (aka “Trostspiegel“), printed by Heinrich Steiner (fl.1522–1548), published in 1532 by Johann Schott (aka Hans Schotten; Hans Schott; Ioannem Schottum) (fl.early1500s).
Note the Rijksmuseum offers the following description of the series of prints featuring this woodcut:
(transl.) “A king is crowned outside on a field while a crowd attacks a young counselor Illustrations from "Von der Artzney bayder Glück" by Francesco Petrarca, the so-called "Trostspiegel" for the first time [series title]”
Woodcut with letterpress text verso on fine laid paper trimmed with a narrow margin around the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (support sheet) 25.9 x 27.2 cm; (leaf) 14.4 x 15.8; (image borderline) 14.2 x 15.5 cm
Ref: Heinrich Theodor Musper, “Die Holzschnitte des Petrarkameisters : ein kritisches Verzeichnis mit einleitung” (The woodcuts of the Petrarch Master: a critical index with introduction), Munich, 1927; GK Nagler, “Neues allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon”, xxi, Munich, 1851, p. 364; H Röttinger, “Hans Weiditz der Petrarkameister”, Strasbourg, 1904; H Röttinger, “Neues zum Werke Hans Weiditz”, in “Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für vervielfältigende Kunst”, Vienna, 1911, p. 46ff; W Scheidig, “Die Holzschnitte des Petrarca-Meisters: Zu Petrarcas Werk, Von der Artzney bayder Glück”, Berlin, 1955; G Bartrum, “German Renaissance Prints”, exh. cat., London, BM, 1995, p.160; G Messling, “Beck or the Petrarch Master”, PQ, June 2004, pp.146–154.
Condition: a museum-quality strong impression (presumably a lifetime impression as there is minimal wear to the lines) in near perfect condition apart from a small and virtually invisible restoration to the upper edge of the sheet. The sheet is backed with an archival support sheet of millennium quality washi paper.
I am selling this lifetime impression of an exceptional woodcut by one of the most important of the Germany printmakers at the beginning of the 1500s for AU$390 in total (currently US$290.55/EUR248.13/GBP219.20 at the time of posting 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 museum-quality woodcut of the utmost rarity—neither the British Museum nor the Rijksmuseum hold a copy of this print—please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold
Several times I have been asked if I would list a few prints by Hans Baldung—one of Durer’s pupils. Sadly, from a brief look I haven’t found any in my collection. Nevertheless, this print by Hans Wechtlin is probably a good substitute. After all, like Baldung, Wechtlin is one of the most important German Renaissance woodcut illustrators and this print certainly reveals why he is so revered for his curiously engaging compositions.
There is a notable difference, however, between the works of Baldung and Wechtlin as Giulia Bartrum (1995) in the British Museum catalogue, “German Renaissance Prints 1490–1550” points out:
“Baldung’s prints display an overwhelming concern for the interpretation of human emotion and power rather than for harmonious composition or the technique of printmaking itself, both of which are important factors in Wechtlin’s work” (p. 64).
Regarding the technical aspect of this print, I will focus on only one feature that I see as very revealing in the hope that it “speaks broadly” for Weiditz’s knowledge of his craft: the way that Weiditz portrays the rock underneath the front foot of the lamb—a little to the left of centre in the foreground—looking at the butcher at his work. What is noteworthy about the treatment of this small rock is that the lines are rendered as black lines whereas the tufts of grass behind the rock are rendered in white lines. This may seem a rather trivial feature to focus on, but the juxtaposition of positive (black) lines with negative (white) lines is a hallmark of a woodcut artist skilled in his craft.