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Wednesday 8 April 2020

Jaspar Isaac’s engraving, “Ajax le Locrien, ou les Gyres”, c1609

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

Note: attribution of this engraving to Jaspar Isaac rather than the other engravers featured in the same publication—viz. Léonard Gaultier (1561–1635) and Thomas de Leu (1560–1620)—is based on the stylistic treatment of the portrayed subject (cf. “Evadne”, signed by Isaac that I have listed earlier and is currently available:

“Ajax le Locrien, ou les Gyres”, c1609, after Antoine Caron (aka Antoine Charon) (1521–1599), illustration to Blaise de Vigenère’s (1523 –1596) translation of Lucius Flavius Philostratus (aka “the Athenian”) (c.170 – 247/250) and/or his son-in-law, Philostratus of Lemnos’ “Les images ou tableaux de platte peinture des deux Philostrates …”, first published in Paris in 1609 by Claude Cramoisy, followed by the edition by Abel l'Angelier's widow in 1614 or 1615. Also issued in 1637 by Mathieu Guillemot, Sebastien Cramoisy and C. Sonnius in Paris. offers an online view (and free-of-charge download) of the 1637 edition (see this print on page 384):

The mythological episode illustrated in this print matches the description offered by the Finnish Thesaurus and Ontology Service (finto):
‘… the return of Ajax the Lesser (the Locrian) after the fall of Troy > Ajax the Lesser shipwrecked; while he is scrambling ashore Neptune splits the rocks with his trident”

I understand that the Neptune was unhappy with Ajax’s “sacrilegious behaviour”—to borrow a phrase from Wikipedia—and his fury extended beyond making Ajax fall; he also whipped up wild ocean currents—the gyres.

Engraving on laid paper with letterpress text verso, trimmed with a small margin and backed with a support sheet,
Size: (sheet) 26.2 x 21.3 cm; (plate) 23.6 x 19 (image borderline) 23.3 x 18.6 cm.

Condition: richly inked, near faultless early impression. There are past collectors’ pencil and pale ink notations in the lower margin recto and the letterpress text printed verso is partly visible recto. The sheet is laid onto a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper and is in excellent/museum-quality condition.

I am selling this superb engraving from c.1609 —a visually arresting late Renaissance masterpiece—for AU$320 (currently US$196.45/EUR180.94/GBP159.60 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 remarkable engraving with its fascinating treatment of lightning represented by castellated white lines—a visual device that I understand is symptomatic of artists who suffer from migraines—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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