Gallery of prints for sale

Tuesday 9 August 2022

Pietro Monaco’s etching (with engraving), “The Prophesy of the Prophet Elisha”, c1735, after Rembrandt

Pietro Monaco (1707–1772)

“The Prophesy of the Prophet Elisha” (aka “Eliseo che predise I regi attentati contro se stresso”) c1735 (1730–1739), from a series of plates reproducing paintings then in the Venetian palazzi, “Raccolta di 112 stampe di pitture della storia sacra” (see BM inv. 1865,0520.773), after Rembrandt’s (aka Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn) (1606–1669) painting, “Two Old Men Disputing”, 1628, in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne, Australia) (inv. no. 349-4), possibly an impression before numbering (?), published by Pietro Monaco in Venice.

Interestingly, the identity of the portrayed subject of Monaco’s etching seems to have been abandoned by the gate-keepers of history as the NGA offers the following insights about the subject of Rembrandt’s painting without referencing the lettered text to this print:

“There has been some speculation as to the subject of this painting. It has been suggested that two men are philosophers – possibly Hippocrates and Democritus – or that they are the apostles Peter and Paul. When representing specific biblical figures, however, Rembrandt usually included symbols commonly associated with them, such as the keys to the kingdom of heaven (St Peter) or a sword (St Paul). That there are no such attributes present lessens the likelihood that the painting is a portrayal of these two saints. Nor are there any direct references to particular philosophers. On 3 June 1641, when the picture was cited in the will of Jacques de Gheyn III (a close associate of Rembrandt who may have acquired the painting directly from him), the panel is referred to simply as ‘two little old men, seated and disputing” (

Etching with engraving on laid paper.

Size: (sheet) 56.5 x 42.5 cm; (plate) 50.5 x 36.4 cm; (image borderline) 44.9 x 33.7 cm.

Lettered in plate below the image borderline: (left) “Pietro Monaco del. Scol.”; (centre) “ELISEO CHE PREDISE I. REGI ATTENTATI CONTRO SE STRESSO./ Eliseus autem sedebat in domo sua, et Senes sedebant cum eo. Reg.L.4.cap.VI.v. 32./ PITTURADI DI REMBRANDT DEL RENO POSSEDUTA DALL’ILL MO. SIG. BORTOLO BERNARDI A S. APOLLINARE.”; (right) “e forma in Venezia”.

Apolloni 59 (Davide Apolloni 2000, “La raccolta di cento dodici stampe di pitture della storia sacra”, Edizioni della Laguna, p. 234, cat. no. 59); Le Blanc 189 (Charles Le Blanc 1854, “Manuel de l'amateur d'estampes, contenant un dictionnaire des graveurs de toutes les nations: ouvrage destiné à faire suite au Manuel du libraire par J.Ch. Brunet”, vol. 3, Paris, p. 38, cat. no. 189 [see]); Nagler 45 (Georg Kaspar Nagler 1840, “Neues allgemeines Künstler-Lexicon oder Nachrichten von dem Leben und den Werken der Maler, Bildhauer, Kupferstecher, Formschneider, Lithographen: Sole, G.G.–Surugue, L”, vol. 9, München, Fleischmann, p.388, cat. no. 45 [see]).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Elisha prophesying his own danger; the bearded prophet seated at a desk at centre, a globe behind him, turned towards an old man who sits at left, seen from behind and holding an open book, other old books in lower right; within engraved frame; after Rembrandt/ Etching and engraving” (

Condition: a well-printed impression with wide margins around the platemark. Beyond restored tears in the margins and a flattened centrefold, the sheet is in a very good condition for its considerable age with no significant stains or foxing.

I am selling this large and very rare etching (before numbering?)—note that neither the Rijksmuseum nor the NGV (the later gallery have Rembrandt’s painting of this composition in their collection) hold a copy of this print (or at least not online)—for the total cost of AU$488 (currently US$340.67/EUR332.94/GBP281.35 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 remarkably beautiful and luminous etching showing Elisha seated with a globe behind him and prophesying his own murder to another seated man holding a book, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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