19–28 JAN 2021 | Online 20187

Old Master Prints

Sale Total GBP 1,050,500

19–28 JAN 2021

Sale Overview

Old Master Prints online offers an intriguing selection of fine and rare prints, spanning  five centuries of the European printmaking, beginning with a German hand-coloured woodcut from mid-15th century and ending with an early 19th century French lithograph by Carle Vernet.

The unrivalled virtuosity of Albrecht Dürer is well represented, both in the medium of woodcut and of engraving, including a fine proof impression of the Crucifixion from the Large Passion and two of his most famous and dazzling engravings: Adam and Eve and Melencolia I.

Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait with a soft Cap and the Self-Portrait with Saskia put us face-to-face with the greatest of all Dutch painter-printmakers, whose sensitivity, astounding draughtsmanship and technical bravura is equally apparent in secular and religious subjects. The night piece The Star of the Kings and a luminous impression of the Hundred Guilder Print on silk are both testament to his mastery of light and shade.

The tastes of the Late Professor Eric Stanley, of a Private Norwegian amateur, and various other scholars and collectors, enable us to offer a great variety of prints from Italy, including rarities by the engravers of Raphael's circle (Marcantonio Raimondi, Marco Dente, Agostino Veneziano), by Nicolas Beatrizet and the Scultori-Ghisi Family. Their prints after compositions by Raphael, Michelangelo, Giulio Romano and others were instrumental in promoting their fame and  for the dissemination of Italian Renaissance art. In a related endeavour, these engravers sought to record and celebrate the splendours of Classical Antiquity, with Marco Dente's depiction of the Laocoön group (formerly in the Spencer Collection) as a prime example for the archaeological interest and sensibility of the age.

A few decades later in the Low Countries, artists such as Hendrick Goltzius and the Antwerp publisher Hieronymus Cock became the leading printmakers in Europe. A first state-impression of The Alchemist is an outstanding example for the many prints published by Cock after Pieter Bruegel’s quirky inventions, while Mars and Venus surprised by Vulcan by Goltzius epitomises his high mannerist style and the eroticised courtly culture of the period. With estimates ranging from £100 to £100,000 this auction is an opportunity to acquire some of the most celebrated, fascinating and outright curious images of western art.

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