Gallery of prints for sale

Sunday 10 May 2020

Antonio Tempesta’s etching, “The Wish of Semele”, 1606

Antonio Tempesta (1555–1630)

“The Wish of Semele(aka “Semele divino Iovis concubitu occiditur”), 1606, plate 27 from the series of 151 plates (including the title plate), “Metamorphoseon sive transformationum” (Ovid’s “The Metamorphoses”), published by Pieter de Jode I (1573–1634) in Antwerp (or Willem Janszoon Blaeu [1571–1638] in Amsterdam).

Etching on laid paper trimmed around the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 10.5 x 12 cm; (image borderline) 9.5 x 11.7 cm.
Numbered and lettered in Latin on plate below the image borderline: “(left) “27.”; (centre) Semele diuino Iouis concubitu occiditur.”

TIB 36 (17).664 (151) (Sebastian Buffa [ed.] 1983, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Antonio Tempesta: Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century”, vol. 36, New York, Abaris Books, p. 23, cat. no. 663 [151]); Bartsch XVII.151.664.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 27; Semele standing to left with her hand covering her eyes, with Jupiter and Juno appearing to her on a cloud to right. 1606”

See also the copies of this print held by the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: well-printed early impression, as shown by the crispness of the lines and signs of surface scratches still evident in the impression. The sheet is trimmed on the platemark and is in very good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or significant stains, but the paper has mellow toning/darkening appropriate to its age).

I am selling this small etching from 1606 by one of the most famous of the Renaissance printmakers, for the total cost of AU$228 (currently US$149.44/EUR137.73/GBP120.24 at the time of posting 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 strong image showing Semele—the mother of Bacchus—making her wish that her lover, Jupiter, would visit her in all his godly splendour, only to be “consumed to ashes by his godly radiance” (to borrow the BM’s description) when he arrived, 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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