Giovanni Merlo (fl.c.1656–1696)
“St. Gudwal of Wales”, c1650, plate 9 in the series, “Sylvae Sacrae”, after a lost drawing by Maarten de Vos (1532–1603), after the engraving of the same composition executed in 1598 by Jan Sadeler I (1550–1600) in the series “Trophæum Vitæ Solitariæ” (see: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1958-0712-203).
HMML Reading Room (vhmml.org) offers the following description of this print's composition: “The saint is depicted praying in a rock cave on a small island surrounded by a roiling sea. In the background, St. Gudwal is seen building a hermitage, watching it as it is carried away by the sea, and living in a cave” (https://w3id.org/vhmml/museum/view/3302).
Regarding the portrayed hermit, I understand that St. Gudwal (fl. 650) entered the priesthood at an early age and later became a bishop. According to Wikipedia “he led a party of 188 monks across the sea to Cornwall, where they were hospitably received by Mevor, a prince of the country, and Gudwal founded a monastery not far off …” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gudwal).
Engraving on laid paper with a small margin around the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 19.7 x 22.9 cm; (plate) 17.4 x 20.2 cm; (image borderline) 15.3 x 19.5 cm.
Inscribed in plate within the image borderline: (lower left corner) “Giouani Merlo .F.”
Numbered and lettered on plate in two lines of Latin in two columns below the image borderline: "GVDVVALDVS sacram deponit sponte thiaram,/ Horrida saxa petens, vndique cincta salo.// 9 // Sacra facit, precibus fontem elicit, imperat vndis/ Virga Num Mosis gloria maior erit?" (Gudvvaldus freely lays down his sacred tiara, making rough rocks, surrounded on every side by the surf. He performs sacred things, calls out the fountain with prayers, and orders the rod to be greater than the glory of Moses?).
Lifetime impression (based on the quality of line showing no sign of wear to the printing plate).
TIB 7001.398 C3 (Isabelle de Ramaix [ed.] 2001, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Johan Sadeler I”, Vol. 70, Part 2 [Supplement], New York, Abaris Books, p. 256, cat. no. .398 C3); Hollstein 428.
Condition: a richly inked and near faultless impression in pristine/museum quality condition for the considerable age of this print (i.e., there are no tears, holes, losses, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling).
I am selling this exceptionally strong engraving in near pristine condition exemplifying the period style of Mannerism, for the total cost of AU$248 (currently US$179.86/EUR159.54/GBP133.81 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 superb engraving showing multiple episodes of St. Gudwal’s life—viz. on the right the saint is portrayed hewing his cave from a rockface; the distance shows the hermitage he constructed perched on a rocky promontory; the middle distance represents the same building having collapsed into the sea—please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
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