• Old Master Prints auction at Christies

    Sale 7781

    Old Master Prints

    8 December 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 23

    Jean Duvet

    Saints Sebastian, Anthony, and Roch (B. 10; Be. 48; E. 70)

    Price Realised  


    Jean Duvet
    Saints Sebastian, Anthony, and Roch (B. 10; Be. 48; E. 70)
    engraving, 1550-1555, without watermark, a good impression of this rare print, printing with many vertical polishing scratches, with square sheet corners, with thread margins on three sides, trimmed slightly into the subject at left, some pale scattered foxing, otherwise in good condition
    P. 246 x 162 mm., S. 248 x 164 mm.

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    This beautiful, unfinished plate is a rare example of a French Pestblatt, a broadside depicting a saint or saints venerated for their healing powers, and it was very likely made during an outbreak of the Plague in Burgundy in 1554. It displays a strong Italianate influence, with the finely modeled figure of Saint Sebastian in particular being directly inspired by Mantegna's engraving of The Risen Christ between Saint Andrew and Saint Longinus (B. 6). However, Duvet's treatment is characteristically idiosyncratic. The perspective is distorted and flattened, and the saints, angels, animals, and tree are dynamically connected by flowing robes, wings, limbs and fur - all animated by the sketch like quality of Duvet's line.

    It can safely be assumed that Duvet's prints were printed in small numbers - certainly few survive to this day. The present work is thought to have been printed in two editions, with and without text. The only known impression with text was destroyed in Dresden in the Second World War. Eisler records fifteen impressions without text in public collections.

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    Friedrich August II, King of Saxony (1797-1854), (L. 971).
    Kupferstichkabinett der Staatlichen Museen, Berlin (L. 1606), with their duplicate stamp (L. 2398).