N.p.n.d. [Antwerp, 1570-1580].
Compilation of 12 (out of 13?) original cold chiseled engravings mounted on thick paper in a 4to album. The suite has been bound without the title-page. Stiff ivory vellum, triple gilt fillet on the covers, spine ribbed and decorated with gilt fleurons, red morocco lettering piece, inner gilt border, red edges. 19th century binding.
Dimensions of the engravings: 161 x 111 mm.
Dimensions of the pages: 220 x 156 mm.
First state of the 12 engravings composing this rare Passion.
Superb suite engraved by Jan Sadeler (1550-1600) after Marcus Geeraerts the Elder (1530-1590) in oval medallions, in which the characters, with an extreme delicacy of execution, are included in an abundant grotesque setting.
They were executed by Queen Elisabeth of England’s painter, Marcus Geeraerts the Elder, born in Bruges around 1530.
Painter and engraver, he studied with his father, Egbert Gérards, in the Bruges’ guild in 1558, then with Martin de Vos. In 1571, he was Queen Elisabeth of England’s painter.
The 12 plates depict the Last Supper, the Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Arrest of Christ, Christ taken by the soldiers, Christ in front of Pilate, Christ insulted by the soldiers, the bearing of the Cross, Christ undressed by the soldiers, the Crucifixion, the Deposition of Christ and the burial of Christ, the Harrowing of Hell, the Resurrection.
Among the 4 copies that we could locate in public collections, those preserved in the National Gallery of Art of Washington, in the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam and in the central Library of Zurich enclose a title-page and 13 plates (the extra one depicts the Flagellation of Christ) whereas the one in the British Museum encloses 12 plates. As for the only copy that appeared on the public market since the beginning of the reports, it was sold as complete by Christie’s on November 29th, 1991 (Manhattan College Rare book collection) and enclosed a title-page and 12 plates.
A masterpiece of engraving in the end of the 16th century.
A handwritten note on the endleaf mentions « Suite fort rare, épreuves du 1er état (Very rare suite, prints from the first state)».
Références: Hollstein, F W H, Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts, 87-99; Hollstein, Dutch & Flemish, vol. XXI, S. 114, Nr. 207; Hollstein, Dutch & Flemish, vol. XXII, S. 124, Nr. 207; Hollstein, Dutch & Flemish, vol. VII, S. 102, Nr. 87-99; Thieme-Becker, vol. XIII, M. Geeraerts.