Gallery of prints for sale

Thursday 22 July 2021

Philips Galle’s engraving, “Protheus”, 1586

Philips Galle (aka Philippe Galle; Philippus Gallaeus) (1537–1612)

“Protheus” (aka “Proteus”), 1586, plate 5 from the first series of seventeen plates (TIB 5601.090:1–17; Hollstein 316-32), “Semideorum Marinorum Amnicorumque Sigillariæ Imagines Perelegantes” (aka “Sea and River Gods”), published by Philips Galle in Antwerp. offers a superb description of the publication of this series and images of the plates:

Engraving on laid paper, trimmed around/slightly within the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 16.6 x 9.8 cm.

Lettered and numbered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Phls Gall. Inuen./ et Sculp.”; (centre) “PROTHEVS.”; (right) “5.”

State i (of ii) Note that the attribution of this impression to the first state is based on the text line being the same as the first state impression held by the Rijksmuseum (RP-P-1898-A-19949).

TIB 5601.090:5 (Arno Dolders [ed.] 1987, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists: Philips Galle”, vol. 56, Supplement, New York, Abaris Books, p. 347, cat. no. [5601].090:5); New Hollstein Dutch 417-1 (2) (Marjolein Leesberg & Manfred Sellink [comp.] 2001, Rotterdam, “The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450–1700: Philips Galle”, Sound and Vision, p. 114; p. 121 [fig.], cat. no. 417).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:

“Proteus as a nude male figure leaning against a large urn spilling water and fish; face in profile to the left, at his feet, various [shells] and fish on the shore; two flying fish to his right; a city by the shore in the background. 1586 Engraving” ( See also the description offered by the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: a strong and well-printed impression trimmed around/slightly within the image borderline and laid upon a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The groin area of figure (Proteus) is abraded and seems to have a red trace (possibly a child in the past has added colour?) and the lower centre of the border has a spot of abrasion, otherwise the sheet is in a good condition with no tears, holes, folds, significant stains or foxing.

I am selling this Renaissance period engraving showing the elusive sea god, Proteus, who (according to Homer in “The Odyssey” [iv: 355]) lives on the island of Pharos with the gift of prophecy and the interesting propensity  to shape-shift into an animal to avoid questions about the future, for AU$338 (currently US$248.94/EUR211.20/GBP181.25 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 marvellous print engraved only a couple of decades after Michelangelo put down his brushes after completing the “Last Judgement” in the Sistine Chapel, 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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