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You are hereHarvey-LeeHomeHarvey-LeeMonthly Selection Harvey-LeeOld Masters Harvey-Lee Old Masters Archive 02

A Small Selection of Old Master Prints

Albrecht Dürer, The little Fortune. Original engraving Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Young Shepherd on Horseback. This original etching is for sale: £3500 Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Landscape with a Cow. This original etching has been sold
Anthonie Waterloo, The Little Bridge. This  original etching is for sale: £350 Francisco Goya, Bellos consejos. This original etching and aquatint is for sale: £1000 Hendrik Goltzius, Hercules and Cacus. This chiaroscuro woodcut has been sold

This link: Old Master Prints 01, will allow you to view the selected prints from the
previous series of Old Master Prints


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The Current Selections:

From a Recent Catalogue
Modern British Prints
Modern Continental Prints
Prints by Women
Prints under £250

Selections from the Home Page

Click on a thumbnail (left) to link directly with the entry for that print, or scroll down to view all this month's selection. Images are not at very high resolution.

If you require further information on any print featured here, please contact us. When a print has been sold it will be marked as Sold.

Albrecht Dürer, The little Fortune. Original engraving

Nuremberg 1471 – 1528 Nuremberg

Engraved after Dürer’s first visit to Italy The little Fortune, so-called for the comparative size of the plate, is his earliest engraving of a classical subject and earliest rendering of a classical nude.

It was on his first trip to Venice that Dürer developed an interest in classical proportions, though his female nudes always have a Northern particularity that diverges from the accepted classical ‘ideal’.

The little Fortune
Hollstein 71 b/b; Bartsch 78
120 x 66 mm

Original engraving, c.1495-96.
The plate monogrammed.
A good Meder b impression, with the plate scratches.
Small margins (12-13 mm all round).
Good condition. Short supported tear (6 mm) at the sheet edge in the right margin.


The classical Fortune was an inconstant goddess who bestowed her favours at random. The globe on which she balances is indicative both of instability and the territory over which her sway extended.
Dürer here chose not to show her winged, but her eyes are closed within the convention of being blindfolded. She holds a flower, which Panovsky interpreted as eryngium, the aphrodisiac sea holly. Since the Renaissance, Fortune and Venus have been frequently associated both in literature and visual arts.

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Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Young Shepherd on Horseback. This original etching is for sale: £3500

Genoa 1609 – c1665 Mantua

Castiglione was very open to the ideas of foreign artists. His atmospheric and mysterious etchings show a response to Claude and Flemish & Dutch artists; though etching itself, as a medium, has strong Italian affiliations and probably had a longer continuous practice in Italy than elsewhere in Europe. The Young Shepherd on Horseback, one of Castiglione’s earlier prints, was probably etched in the 1630’s during Castiglione’s first stay in Rome from 1634 to the early 1640’s.

Young Shepherd on Horseback
Bartsch 28
188 x 250 mm

Original etching c.1638.
The plate signed and dated indistinctly.
A later impression on laid paper with narrow chain lines and an elaborate armorial watermark. Trimmed just outside, to, or just into the borderline. A diagonal fold line in the top right corner.
Other minor defects.


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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Landscape with a Cow. This original etching has been sold

Leyden 1606 – 1669 Amsterdam

It is only in Rembrandt’s graphic work that landscape assumes an important place.
A history and portrait painter, landscape only occupied him as a theme for his etchings for around thirteen years, from 1640 to 1653. During this period he etched twenty-seven landscapes.
Remarkable for their spontaneity, atmosphere and sense of actuality, scholars have been able to retrace the actual routes the artist took on walks through identifying the exact locations where Rembrandt stopped and etched.

Landscape with a Cow
Bartsch, White & Boon, Ustick 237;
Hind 240
103 x 129 mm

Original etching, c.1650.
Usticke’s 4th state of 6, after the Watelet retouch etc.
An early 19th century impression, printed with plate tone on cream laid paper. Short repaired tear in the lower margin.


The only one of Rembrandt’s landscape etching plates to survive the centuries.

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Anthonie Waterloo, The Little Bridge. This  original etching is for sale: £350

Lille 1610 – 1690 Utrecht

A major landscape etcher of his time. While Waterloo painted only a few pictures of importance he produced 136 landscape etchings, mainly of wooded scenes observed with a romantic eye. He usually published his etching in series but without titles. The Little Bridge is from a suite of six upright landscapes.

The Little Bridge
Bartsch 124,
Hollstein 124 ii/iii
295 x 237 mm

Original etching.
The plate initialled.
A later impression but before the Basan rework. On laid paper with a countermark. Trimmed to the plate but with a narrow plate border all round. Both top corners made up. A small pale stain and other minor defects.


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Francisco Goya, Bellos consejos. This original etching and aquatint is for sale: £1000

Fuente de Todos, Aragon 1746 – 1828 Bordeaux

Goya only turned seriously to etching, and in particular to the tonal possibilities of aquatint, after the illness in 1793 that left him deaf and his mind pre-occupied with dark fantasies. This resulted in his first major series, the Caprichos, which he published himself in 1799. Despite the gentle title suggestive of the earlier 18th century rococo capriccio etchings of Canaletto and Tiepolo, the content of Goya’s plates showing the follies, mores and hypocrisies of contemporary Spanish society, led to opposition from the Inquisition and the prints being withdrawn from circulation.

Goya had managed to sell very few sets. In 1803 he gave the plates and the remaining impressions to the Court, in exchange for a life pension for his son. They were stored at the Calcographia of the Prado and in the second half of the 19th century, when the political situation had changed, the Calcographia issued a succession of small new editions from the plates.

Bellos consejos - Pretty Teachings
A young woman being advised by an old matron
Pl.15 of the Caprichos
Harris 51
214 x 151 mm (plate); 309 x 222 mm (sheet)

Original etching and aquatint, c1799. Published state, with the title and plate number in the bottom and top margins. Probably from the small 2nd (c1855) or 3rd (1868) editions; the aquatint still printing well and with contrasts of tone; before the plate was bevelled for the 4th edition in 1878.


The preparatory drawing for the print is in the Prado.

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Hendrik Goltzius, Hercules and Cacus. This chiaroscuro woodcut has been sold

Mühlbracht 1558 – 1616 Haarlem

Goltzius was the most important designer of chiaroscuro prints in the Netherlands in the 16th & 17th centuries.

Hercules & Cacus, his largest woodcut, is significant in being designed from its inception as a multi-block colour woodcut, rather than having tone blocks added to an existing line woodcut. It is also the only one of Goltzius’ chiaroscuros to be dated.

The figure of Hercules, expressing his heroic physical strength, combines the elegance of Goltzius’ ‘Spranger’ period with his new Knollenstil emphasis on muscularity.

Hercules and Cacus
Bartsch 231;
Hollstein 373;
Bialler 25 ii/iii
409 x 331 mm

Chiaroscuro woodcut, 1588. Signed and dated in the ‘green’ block.
A later impression in the second state colour version (black, yellow and yellow-green).
Like the Chatsworth impression, lacking the additional letterpress inscription, added in the second state beneath, c.1620, by the printer ‘Blaeu’.
The sheet also trimmed to a thread margin at the top and within the image at both sides, made up with a facsimile strip 20 mm at the left and 50 mm at the right edges.
Otherwise a good impression in generally good condition. A central horizontal drying fold and other small defects. The top and bottom borderlines with the usual small breaks in the block. Part of an unidentified watermark with three parallel curved lines.


Part of the legendary history of the founding of Rome, related by Livy, Virgil and Ovid, elaborated from the original Greek legend of Heracles ‘labour’ of finding Geryon’s cattle.

On his return, having crossed the Tiber, Hercules lay down to sleep. During the night Cacus, a fire-breathing giant, son of the Roman god Vulcan, stole some of the beasts and dragged them into his cave, blocking the entry with a huge boulder. Hercules managed to gain access and after a great struggle slew Cacus and recovered the cattle.

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