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Saturday 29 May 2021

Johann Christoph Böcklin’s engraving “Degustat Amara”, 1708, after Johann Andreas Thelott

Johann Christoph Böcklin (1657–1709)

“Degustat Amara” (Bitter Taste), 1708, plate 22 from the series of 26 emblem prints after the design by Johann Andreas Thelott (1654–1734), published in Augsburg in 1708 by Johann Christoph Kolb (1680-1743) and Andreas Maschenbauer (fl.early 1700s) in “Cor laetificans castrum doloris Christo redemtoris, oder, Hertz-erquickende Trauer-Bühne dem Erlöser menschlichen Beschlechtes Christo Jesu” (Gladdening the heart of the castle of pain Christ the redeemer), bound in the publication between pages 22 and 23 (see:

Harvard Library (HOLLIS) offers a description of this publication:

Engraving on laid paper (with watermark).

Size: (sheet) 22 x 15 cm; (plate) 19.7 x 13 cm; (image borderline) 19 x 12.5 cm.

Inscribed on the plate: (above banderole) “Der Sterb/ Trancf Christi./ Matth. 27. [vers.] 46/ et 48” (Death of Christ. Matth 27 vers. 46 and 48); (on banderole) “DEGUSTAT AMARA” (Bitter taste); (below sill) “Da fich mein Haupt zur/ Ruhe sencft/ Berd ich mit saurem Strom/ getrancttt.” (Then my head fell to rest, I was soaked in acidic electricity.); I am unable to decipher the text on the face of the lower step except from this interesting verse: “When the sun communicates its splendour over the earth during the day must take is evening rest in the fallen sea.”; (lower right corner) “22”.

Note: there may be mistakes in my reading of the Frakture font and I have used Google for English translation of the German text.

Condition: a richly inked and well-printed impression—possibly a lifetime impression as there are no signs of wear to the printing plate. The sheet is in near pristine condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling.

I am selling this small but graphically arresting emblem engraving that is rarely seen on the art market, for AU$328 (currently US$253.13/EUR207.59/GBP178.39 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 intriguingly wonderful example of Baroque period symbolism about the inescapable truth of memento mori—“remember that you [have to] die”—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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