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Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617) - The Circumcision; set: 'The Masterpieces'

Lot reference 17934029
Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617) - The Circumcision; set: 'The Masterpieces'

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Current bid $412
Next minimum bid $437
Location: Netherlands
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Engraving - Signed on print - 1594

Artist: Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617)
Title of artwork: The Circumcision; set: 'The Masterpieces'
Year: 1594
Technique: Engraving
Signature: Signed on print
Condition: Overall in fair condition
Sold with frame: No

The Circumcision of the baby Christ; interior of a church with a priest holding the Christ child, another priest sitting before Him with scissors while the Virgin and Joseph look on, a man holding a candlestick in foreground; Goltzius's self-portrait peers out under the arch on the right; the scene takes place in the Gothic interior of St Bavo's church in Haarlem; third state with number; in the manner of Dürer.

The engraving is pasted down on another sheet of Japanese paper for preservation issues, mainly concentrated on the upper part, where repairings are visible and some lacunas have been filled in in pencil. Some discolorations and staining. However the plate is very well readable and charming.

New Hollstein mentions only two states, nr. 11 and this plate would respond to the latter.

Entry from G. Bartrum (ed.), exhib.cat., British Museum, London, 'Albrecht Dürer and his Legacy', 2002, no. 232:

"Goltzius worked in Haarlem and was a major artist and printmaker in the northern Mannerist style. His virtuoso engraving technique is amply demonstrated in his series of six engravings of the Life of the Virgin series (New Hollstein 8-13) in which each print re-creates the style of six earlier famous artists. The series was dedicated to Duke William V of Bavaria, from whom Goltzius received as a reward a gold chain with an engraved portrait medallion.

The `Circumcision` is the fourth print of the series, and is an adaptation of the central group in Dürer`s woodcut, cat.no 231, showing Goltzius` skill in imitating Dürer`s engraving technique within his own pictorial idiom. The interior depicts a chapel in the church of St.Bavo in Haarlem, and the engraver has included a portrait of himself, seen behind the priest looking out at the viewer. In his biography of Goltzius, Karel van Mander records how the engraver jokingly removed his monogram and self-portrait from the print, aged it with smoke and passed it off as an original Dürer; it was purchased for a vastly inflated price before Goltzius owned up to the deception .

Goltzius`s other prints based on Dürer`s style include his series of the `Passion` of 1596-9 (Hollstein 21-32) which was also inspired by Lucas van Leyden, and a `Lamentation`of 1596 (Hollstein 50) which, like the `Circumcision`, is a remarkable re-creation of Dürer`s technique within a composition invented by Goltzius.`

Label text from Nativity show:

In accordance with Jewish practice, Christ was circumcised eight days after his birth (Luke II: 21). This was also the occasion when he was named. A Jewish priest holds the Christ Child before the seated Mohel who will cut off his foreskin. The setting is the Gothic interior of St Bavo`s church in Haarlem, the town west of Amsterdam where Goltzius lived. This virtuoso display of engraving inspired by Dürer and Van Leyden is from a series of six scenes of the Virgin`s early life. Goltzius included his portrait to the right of the chapel`s entrance arch.

The print was copied in a drawing by Eugenio Cajes who worked in Spain. See M.P. McDonald, exhib.cat., BM, London, `Renaissance to Goya: Prints and drawings from Spain`, 2012, fig.5, p.25."

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