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Sunday 17 July 2022

Antonio Tempesta’s etching, “Alexander Attacking Tyre from the Sea”, 1608

Antonio Tempesta (1555? –1630)

“Alexander Attacking Tyre from the Sea” (aka “Alexander de Grote valt Tyrus aan vanuit zee”), 1608, plate 7 (VII) from the series of twelve plates including the title plate (TIB 545–555), “Alexandri Magni Praecipuae res Gestae” (aka “The Principal Deeds of Alexander the Great”; “The Life of Alexander the Great”), initially published in Antwerp by Johannes Baptista Vrints (fl.c1575–1610). This impression was published Amsterdam before 1652 by Claes Jansz. Visscher II (aka Piscator; Nicolaes Jansz Visscher) (1587–1652).

Etching on a full sheet of laid paper with deckle edges on all sides as published including the two binding holes at left.

Size: (sheet) 33 x 42.5 cm; (plate) 22.2 x 29 cm.

State ii (of ii) with the addition of the Arabic number “7”.

Lettered and numbered below the image borderline: “Legatis infesta Tyros Neptunia, mole/ Press Gygantæa nauali clade subacta// VII// Menstrua post septem redeuntis cornua lunæ/ Pellæo iuueni meritas luit improba pœnas.// 7”

TIB (Buffa 1984) 35.551 (143) (Sebastian Buffa [ed.] 1984, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century: Antonio Tempesta”, vol. 35, New York, Abaris Books, p. 279, cat. no. 551 [143]) TIB 3501.489 S2 (Eckhard Leuschner 2007, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Antonio Tempesta", vol. 35. Part 2 [Commentary], New York, Abaris Books, p. 91, cat. no. [3501] .489 S2);  Bartsch XVII.143.551.

See also the descriptions of this print offered by the Rijksmuseum and Metropolitan Museum of Art:;

Eckhard Leuschner (2007) in his commentary on this print (TIB vol, 35, Part 2 [Commentary]) offers the following insight regarding the context of this illustration:

“The most important source for Alexander’s siege of the Syrian city of Tyre is Quintus Curtius Rufus, “History of Alexander”, 4, 2–4. Tempesta’s print was used for the decoration of a majolica dish from Castelli in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremberg (produced between 1670 and 1700 …)” (p. 91).

Condition: a well-printed impression showing very few signs of wear to the printing plate. The etching is on a full sheet of laid paper with a deckle edge of all sides (including binding holes at left) in a near pristine condition for its considerable age with only a small ink mark verso.

I am selling this rare impression in near pristine condition printed as published on a full sheet of early laid paper with two binding holes at left, for the total cost of AU$297 (currently US$201.79/EUR200.04/GBP170.06 at the time of posting this print) including Express Mail (EMS) 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 theatrically dramatic battle scene exemplifying the Baroque period style, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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