Suite of six allegorical prints. France, c. 1560-1570.



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Six engraved prints, 3 oval, 3 rectangular, all except one white-on-black, plate size c. 80 x 65mm, sheet size 205 x 105mm, sewn together at top (trifle soiled). Three signed with variations of "Cum privilegio regis Stephanus fecit", second Minerva, fourth image Arithmetic, fifth Astronomy, last image "Sacrifice of Abraham".

A rare collection of individual plates by the skilled French mannerist engraver Etienne Delaune. Three are taken from his suites to illustrate the liberal arts, two are classical figures while the last is the "Sacrifice of Abraham" from his Old Testament series. The common factor in all the prints is the exquisite execution of the mannerist borders and, as has often been noted, in his prints he shows a precision and intricacy associated with his original profession as a goldsmith.Etienne Delaune (Orléan 1518/19-1583) was trained as an engraver of medals, and worked with Benvenuto Cellini during the latter's stay in Paris from 1540-1545. By 1552, Delaune was employed as chief medallist at the royal mint, founded by Henry II, and in 1556 he furnished designs for Henry's parade armour. His extant prints consist mostly of allegorical subjects within rich, ornamental surrounds and are exeptional for their technical precision despite their often small size. Delaune's rare surviving drawings reveal the influence of Primaticcio and the school of Fontainebleau and his engravings helped to spread the Fountainebleau style among artists and craftsmen in France and beyond. Ref: Per Bjurstrom, Etienne Delaune and the Academy of Poetry and Music, in Master Drawings, 1997, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 351-364.

Stock Code: 47195

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