When I selected this very beautiful tiny engraved roundel by one of the Nuremberg Little Masters to showcase tonight, I was hoping that my background research about it would be straight forward; after all, the print is in the collection of the British Museum. I was wrong. The more I searched who the Master/Monogrammist IB might “really” be the more the proposed attributions flowed … I even found an auction house that had this print as being by Master FG (aka Girolamo Faccioli), but to my eye the monogram is clearly “IB”. Certainly, if I were to adopt the attribution given by “The Illustrated Bartsch” (vol., 16, p. 77, cat. no. 31), I should feel comfortable proposing that the printmaker might be Georg Pencz (c1500–1550) as Georg Pencz’s name is bracketed after Master I.B. Nevertheless, the biographical notes for Master IB provided by the British Museum are a tad unsettling: “Nuremberg Little Master printmaker; sometimes wrongly identified with the young Georg Pencz or Jacob Binck” (https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/term/BIOG146405). I would have loved to follow the BM’s dismissal of Georg Pencz as being the true identity of Master IB, but after close examination of little details (e.g., how Master IB uses strokes to render his figures’ necks or the manner of representing the directional curls in hair, I am still uncertain who is correct).
Master IB (aka Monogrammist IB; Georg Pencz [TIB attrib.]; Jacob Binck [Nagler former attrib.]) (fl.1523–1530)
“Genius of History” (aka “Le genie de l’histoire” [Bartsch title]), c1523–1530.
Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed around the borderline and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet dia.) 5.7 cm.
Inscribed in plate: (lower right) “IB”.
TIB 16.31 (Robert A. Koch [ed.] 1980, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Early German Masters: Jacob Bink; Georg Pencz; Heinrich Aldegrever”, vol., 16, New York, Abaris Books, p. 77, cat. no. 31); Bartsch 31 (Adam von Bartsch 1860, “Le Peintre-Graveur“, vol. 8., Leipsic, R. Weigel, p. 309, cat. no. 31 [see https://archive.org/details/lepeintregraveu10weiggoog/page/309/mode/1up).
Adam von Bartsch offers the following description of this print: (transl.) “The genius of history, expressed by the figure of a winged woman writing on a table. She is seated, seen in profile and turned to the right, where we see a cuirass, a shield and a helmet placed on the ground in the background. The letters I B are engraved at the bottom of this same side. Round piece.” See also the description of this print offered by the British Museum: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1850-0810-581.
Condition: a well-printed, slightly silvery impression, trimmed around the borderline and laid onto a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper providing wide margins. There is a dot stain (printer’s ink?) below the tablet otherwise the sheet is in a good condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or foxing.
I am selling this very small engraved roundel from the early 1500s, executed by a master from the circle known as the Nuremberg Little Masters, showing an angelic female personification of history seated beside armour while she records all that has happened through time on a stone tablet, for the total cost of AU$514 (currently US$342.66/EUR314.22/GBP276.08 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 exceptionally beautiful, jewel-like tiny engraving, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold
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