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Sunday 30 December 2018

Cornelis Cort’s engraving, “The Triumph of Pride”, 1564, after Maerten van Heemskerck

Cornelis Cort (1533–1578)

“The Triumph of Pride”, 1564, plate three from the series of nine engravings featuring “triumphal wagons from the Antwerp Circumcision procession of 1561” (see Rijksmuseum description: RP-P-1963-170) after Maerten van Heemskerck (1498–1574) (New Hollstein 482-490), published by Joannes Galle (1600–1676) (published previously by Joannes’ father, Theodor Galle [1571–1633] and earlier by Hieronymus Cock [c1510–1570]). Note: the related drawings for this and the other prints in the series are in the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (see BM No. 1868,0208.49 for the Curator of British Museum’s discussion about the series).

Engraving on laid paper with margins on the bottom and left sides, trimmed to the image borderline at the top and right sides, and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 22.5 x 30.2 cm
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline: (lower left) "MHeemskerck inue. / Ioan. Galle exc"; (lower right) "3"; (near each allegorical figure personified from left) “Curiostas”; “Pertinacia”; “Lactantia”; Inobedientia”; “Contemptus”; “Inuidia[m?]; “Superbia”; "Derisio”.
Lettered on plate below the image borderline in two strapwork cartouches with three lines of text in each listing the allegorical figures: “SVPERBIA INVIDIAM  .../ …/ …//…/ …/ …DERISIO".
State iii (of iii) with publication details for “Ioan Galle” (aka Joannes Galle) and reversal/correction of the earlier mirror-image number, “3”.

Riggs 1977 146 (unidentified engraver) (Timothy Riggs 1977, “Hieronymus Cock, Printmaker and Publisher”, New York, Garland Press); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 149 (Cornelis Cort); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 484.III (Maarten van Heemskerck); Bierens de Haan 1948 (Coornhert) (J C J Bierens de Haan 1948, “L'oeuvre gravé de Cornelis Cort, graveur hollandais 1533-1578”, The Hague, pp. 213-14).

Note: this print was previously attributed to Dirk Volkertsz Coornhert (1522–1590) but this attribution is now rejected.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print;
“The triumph of Pride; 'Superbia', holding a mirror and peacock feather, sits atop a chariot driven by 'Contemptus', brandishing a whip; the chariot is accompanied by allegorical figures, including 'Derisio', holding two ears; after Heemskerck. 1564”

See also the Rijksmuseum’s description of this print:
(transl.) “The personification of Pride sits on a triumphal car driving through an ancient city. She can be recognized by the mirror and the peacock. The triumphal car is drawn by two horses and controlled by the personification of Contempt. Other vices walk with the car. Print from a series of nine prints with triumphal cars from the Antwerp Circumcision procession of 1561. The personifications on the wagons together depict the cycle of human action.”

Condition: crisp and well-printed impression with small margins around the platemark on the left and lower edge, trimmed along the image borderline on the right and upper edge. The sheet is in excellent condition in terms of being free of holes, creases, abrasions, significant stains, foxing or signs of handling, but there is a closed tear (approximately 1 cm) on the lower edge. The sheet has been laid upon a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this allegory set against an townscape of Roman antiquity about the attendant miseries of pride personified in mythological figures—the grim figure of Envy (Invidia) shown sucking on a heart at the feet of Pride (Superbia) portrayed seated on the wagon pulled by the horses Curiosity (Curiostas) and Pertinacity (Pertinatia) that are being driven by whip wielding Contempt (Contempus) accompanied by Ostentatiousness (Jactantia), Insubordination (Inobedientia) and Derision (Derisio)—for AU$430 (currently US$302.99/EUR264.69/GBP238.56 at the time of 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 this remarkable Renaissance period engraving saturated with symbolism, 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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