Jupiter and Antiope: the larger Plate

Jupiter and Antiope: the larger Plate
etching with drypoint
on laid paper, watermark Arms of Amsterdam (Hinterding B.a.a.)
a very fine, strong impression of this rare print
second state (of three)
with considerable burr on Antiope's legs, upper body, bed sheet and elsewhere
with a light plate tone, vertical wiping marks and inky plate edges
with narrow margins
some scattered foxing
in good condition
Plate 138 x 205 mm.
Sheet 140 x 207 mm.
Francis Abbott (1801-1893), Edinburgh (Lugt 970b); his posthumous sale, Dowell, Edinburgh, 22-26 January 1894, lot 400 ('first state, very scarce.').
Samuel Solomonovitsch Scheikevitch (1842-1908), Moscow and Paris (Lugt 2367); his sale, Danlos, Paris, 24-28 May 1910, lot 808 ('Superbe épreuve, fort chargée de barbes, du Ier état: avant les inscriptions et le vers') (Fr. 790; this impression cited in Lugt).
Richard Dawnay, 10th Viscount Downe (1903-1965), Wykeham Abbey, Yorkshire (without mark, see Lugt 719a); his posthumous sale, Sotheby's, London, 7 December 1972, lot 274 ('...very fine, early impression, with burr and inky plate edges...') (£ 8,500; to Boerner).
With C. G. Boerner, Düsseldorf.
Leslie E. Lancy (1911-1996), Ellwood City, Pennsylvania (Lugt 4796).
With David Tunick, New York (with his code DTMI in pencil verso).
Sam Josefowitz (Lugt 6094); acquired from the above in 1978; then by descent to the present owners.
Bartsch, Hollstein 203; Hind 302; New Hollstein 311 (this impression cited)
Stogdon 87

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Tim Schmelcher
Tim Schmelcher International Specialist

Lot Essay

Jupiter and Antiope: the large Plate and a series of female nudes (see lot 68) mark the end of Rembrandt’s career as an etcher. Together they constitute a final highpoint: a small group of very rare, intimate and yet important prints. That Rembrandt, as he turned older, turned to erotic subjects is reminiscent of the aging Picasso, who over three hundred years later would live out his sexual fantasies in his final period as a printmaker. Yet it was Picasso aged 55, almost the same age as Rembrandt when he etched Jupiter and Antiope: the large Plate, who took direct inspiration from this print for one of his most poetically erotic etchings, Faune devoilant une Femme, in 1936. Rembrandt in turn had taken the subject and overall composition from Annibale Carracci’s etching of 1592, an impression of which he probably owned (see Bikker, 2014, p. 90). Even earlier, it was Leon Davent, probably after a lost design by Francesco Primaticcio, who first depicted Jupiter unveiling the sleeping Antiope in a print.
Rembrandt adopted the position of the figures from Carracci’s print, yet omitted the rather superfluous cupid and the landscape, thereby reducing and condensing the image on the tension between the two figures – or rather the effect the woman’s exposed body has on Jupiter. Yet, while Carracci’s satyric creature is decidedly lecherous, there is something wistful and melancholic about Rembrandt's elderly god. His expression is that of a man looking at something that no longer belongs to him, something remembered but lost. It must have been in Rembrandt’s character to see and depict his characters, whether they were gods, prophets and saints, burghers or beggars, as deeply human. This is true here not just for Jupiter, but also of Antiope, as Erik Hinterding has observed: ‘Rembrandt’s rendition of sleep in this etching is so convincing – the mouth open, the left arm completely relaxed – that one might almost suppose that he drew from a model who really was fast asleep.’ (Hinterding, 2000, p. 363) Clifford Ackley amusingly remarked that ‘one can almost hear her snoring’. (Ackley, 2003, p. 168)
According to Greek myth, Antiope was the daughter of King Nycteus of Thebes. Attracted by her beauty, Zeus - or Jupiter in Roman mythology – transformed into a satyr and seduced her. She later gave birth to twin sons: Amphion, son of Zeus, and Zethus, son of her husband Epopeus. Her complicated fate is subject of a fragmentary play by Euripides.
The first state of this print exists in a unique impression in the British Museum, London, while the two impressions of the third state, with an explanatory text in Dutch and French added to the plate, are certainly posthumous. The present sheet is a very fine impression, with considerable burr and rough, inky plate edges, of the second state.

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