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Monday, 16 July 2018

Jan Sadeler I’s engraving, “Annunciation to the Shepherds”, c1575–1600


Jan Sadeler I (aka Johannes Sadeler; Johann Sadeler) 1550–1600)

“Annunciation to the Shepherds” (TIB title), c1575–1600, after a painting by Jacopo Bassano (aka Jacopo da Ponte; Giacomo Bassano) (c.1510/18–1592) in the Giusti collection, Verona.

Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed with a narrow margin around the platemark and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 22.7 x 28.7 cm; (plate) 22.2 x 28.4 cm; (image borderline) 19.6 x 28 cm
Lettered Latin on plate: (above the image borderline) “ECCE ENIM EVANGELIZO VOBIS GAUDIVM MAGNVM.” (transl. “I bring you good tidings of great joy”); (below the image borderline): “IN GRATIAM PERILLVSTRIS COMITIS AVGVSTINI DE IVSTIS, TABELLAM / HANC IOANNES SADELERVS ÆRE SCALPSIT, QVAM OLIM IACOBVS DE PONTO / BASSANENSIS COLORIBVS EFFINXERAT, VERONÆ.'
Lifetime impression. State i (of iii) before the address “Dancker Danckerts excud.” of state ii and the address of “F. de Wit excud.” of state iii.

TIB 7001.149 S1 (Isabelle de Ramaix & Walter L Strauss [eds.] 1999, “The Illustrated Bartsch 70, Part 1 [Supplement], Johan Sadeler I”, vol. 70, Part 1, Abaris Books, p. 175); Nagler 1835–52, no. 42; Le Blanc, no. 45; Wurzbach, no. 31; Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 180; Sénécgak 1987, no. 2 (Johan Sadeler I).; Pan, nos. 2 and 2a.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Annunciation to the shepherds. The angel appearing between clouds at centre, the shepherds huddled with their sheep, an ox, goat, dog and donkey, one reclining at right, two standing and conversing behind, a man seated at centre, resting his head on his hand; first state before publisher's address; after Jacopo Bassano.”
See also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: crisp and well-printed lifetime (first state) impression in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing), trimmed with small margins around the platemark and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this lifetime impression of a very rare and beautiful engraving—note in particular the exquisite rendering of the dog towards the centre of the scene as it gazes up to the radiant angel proclaiming the birth of Christ—for the total cost of AU$313 (currently US$232.77/EUR198.48/GBP175.21 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this unusual engraving of a nighttime scene, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


What I love about this print—beyond the simply stunning skill of the engraver—is that the artist is able to imbue a spirit of life to the figures and animals portrayed. For instance, the dog shown near the centre of the composition is completely believable as a living and thinking dog engaged in gazing at the very unusual sight in the night sky: an angel making a proclamation in dazzling radiant light. Note also the juxtaposition of the dog with its uplifted but stilled tail next to the less than interested goats and sheep.

Of extra special interest to me is the artist’s treatment of the sleeping figure below the angel. Here the figure’s deep sleep is expressed not only by the downward tilt to his head but more insightfully by the use of an encircling net of contour lines connoting a brain inwardly engrossed in dreaming.

One final feature of this print that I need to point out is the artist’s subtle approach to rendering the foreground grass. The blades of the grass are depicted as illuminated by the heavenly light, but to render them as lit by the light (i.e. white) the immediate background to each blade has been engraved with fine lines to give the illusion that the grass is represented with white strokes.








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