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Sunday 8 December 2019

Philips Galle's engraving, “Giovanni de Medici Surrounded at Rome”, 1583

Philips Galle (aka Philippe Galle; Philippus Gallaeus) (1537–1612)
“Giovanni de Medici Surrounded at Rome” (aka “Giovanni, Surrounded by Armed Men at Rome, Defends Himself” [TIB title]), 1582/3, plate 1 to the series of twenty-one engravings (including the title plate), “Mediceae Familiae Rerum Feliciter Gestarum Victoriae et Triumphi”, after Jan van der Straet (aka Joannes Stradanus; Ioannes Stradanus) (1523–1605), published by Philips Galle in Antewerp.
Engraving on laid paper trimmed around the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 22.3 x 29.7 cm.
Lettered on plate within the image borderline: (centre of lower edge) “Johannes Stradanus inventor. Philippus Galle sculpsit et excudit.”
Numbered and lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “1”; (centre in two lines of Latin) “Johannes Medices …/ …Funditq[ue].”
State i (of ii) lifetime impression.
TIB 5601.102:2 (Arno Dolders [ed.] 1987, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists: Philips Galle”, vol. 56, Supplement, p. 385, cat. no. [5601].102:2); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 353.I (Johannes Stradanus) (Marjolein Leesberg [comp.] 2008, “The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450–1700: Johannes Stradanus”, vol. 3, Amsterdam, Sound and Vision Rijksmuseum, p. 40, cat. no. 353); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 489.2 (Philips Galle) (Manfred Sellink [comp.] 2001, “The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450–1700: Philips Galle”, vol. 3, Rotterdam, Sound and Vision p. 192; p. 199. cat. no. 489); Baroni Vannucci 1997 691.14 (Alessandra Baroni Vannucci 1997, “Jan van der Straet, detto Giovanni Stradano, flandrus pictor et inventor”, Milan, Jandi Sapi Editori).
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate numbered 1: Giovanni de' Medici surrounded at Rome; two armies fighting at the bridge of Castel Sant'Angelo; to right, [children] and the elderly fleeing; at centre, in the foreground, two army leaders confronting each other.”
The Rijksmuseum offers the following description:
(transl.) “The young Giovanni de Medici, called 'dalle Bande Nere', is surrounded by members of the Orsini family during a street fight on the [Castel Sant'Angelo bridge]. He slaps wildly with his sword and flees the besiegers. The print has a Latin caption and is part of a series about the family history of the De 'Medici family.”
Condition: well-printed lifetime impression showing no sign of wear to the printing plate, trimmed with a narrow margin around the image borderline. Beyond minor age-toning (appropriate to the age of the impression), the sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, losses, abrasions, stains or foxing).
I am selling this rare impression of the first plate (following the title plate) to the series, “History of the Medici”, for a total cost of AU$304 (currently US$207.98/EUR187.95/GBP158.41 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 purchasing this amazing engraving full of action and I must point out the compositionally daring use of the soldier's foot on the left that “steps” over the image borderline to reflexively draw the viewer into the pictorial space of the scene, 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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