Property from the Collection of Ulrich and Alfred Ochsenbein

Saint George and the Dragon

Saint George and the Dragon
woodcut, circa 1600, on laid paper, watermark Fleur-de Lys and indistinct countermark, a very good impression of the second state (of three), with the gap at the lower edge and a couple of small wormholes in the block, printing strongly and with sharp relief verso, with small margins, a curved backed tear at upper right, another short tear at centre right, generally in good condition
Block 528 x 364 mm., Sheet 535 x 373 mm.
Ulrich Ochsenbein (1811-1890) and Alfred Ochsenbein (1883-1919), Switzerland; then by descent.
Passavant VI.234.56
P. Dreyer, Tizian und sein Kreis, Berlin, 1971, pp. 59-60, nr. 42 (another impression illustrated)
B. Davis, Mannerist Prints, Los Angeles, 1988, pp. 124-125, nr. 43 (another impression illustrated)
D. Rosand and M. Muraro, Titian and the Venetian Woodcut, Washington, 1976, p. 301, nr. 96 (another impression illustrated)
J. Martineau and C. Hope (eds.), The Genius of Venice 1500-1600, London, 1983, p. 352, P61 (another impression illustrated)

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Tim Schmelcher
Tim Schmelcher International Specialist

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Lot Essay

This woodcut by Giuseppe Scolari is exceptionally dramatic, not just in its imagery but also in its comparatively monumental scale. The suspense in the composition is intensified by the artist’s unique handling of the tools used to incise the woodblock. The typical mode of carving with crosshatching is abandoned in favour of the use of a burin in most areas to create flowing lines of black and white (also demonstrated in the following lot, Saint Jerome). These long lines swirl in opposing directions, amplifying the rearing movement of the horse about to crash its hooves onto the beast below. The apparent look of terror on the saint’s face adds a nervous energy to the scene, which captures the moment of his lance breaking in two, having just speared the mouth of the dragon. Little is known about Scolari and only nine prints are firmly attributed to him. He is only known to us today through this small oeuvre of woodcuts as none of his paintings or drawings survive.

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