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Friday 7 December 2018

Jaspar Isaac’s engraving, “Hercules and the Horses of Diomede”, c1609, after Antoine Caron

Jaspar Isaac (aka Gasper Isac; Jaspar Isac; Gaspard Isac; Jaspar Isacsz; Jasper de Isaac) (fl.1585–1654)

“Hercules and the Horses of Diomede”, c1609, after Antoine Caron (aka Antoine Charon) (1521–1599), illustration to Blaise de Vigenère’s (1523 –1596) translation of Philostratus’ (170?–245 AD), “Les images ou tableaux de platte peinture des deux Philostrates …”, first published in Paris in 1609 by Claude Cramoisy and later republished in 1614/15, 1617 and 1637 (see the plates from the 1637 edition at

This plate is the illustration to the epiode of Hercules killing the horses belonging to Diomede (the King of Thrace) with his club. These mares had a taste for human flesh and had freshly eaten his close mate—VERY close mate!—Abdère, shown dead in the foreground on Heracles' lion skin.

Note that Getty images attribute this engraving (“The Burial of Abdère”) to Leonard Gaultier who also engraved plates in the same publication, but to my eyes the style of this image is much closer to Isaac than Gaultier

Note: the 1637 edition of the publication in which this plate features (p. 499) is available online or may be downloaded free of charge from

Engraving on fine laid paper with letterpress text on verso, trimmed with thread margins near the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 23.8 x 18.9 cm; (image borderline) 23.5 x 18.8 cm

Condition: superb crisp impression trimmed close to the image borderline (with loss of text lines beneath the image borderline). The sheet is softly mellowed in colour by its age and is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, folds, holes, significant abrasions, stains or foxing) and has been laid onto a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this graphically arresting engraving from c1609 for AU$320 (currently US$231.18/EUR203.02/GBP181.04 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this marvellous example of the stylistic attributes of late Mannerism with theatrical lighting and equally dramatic composition “filled to the rafters” with swirling rhythms, 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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