Hendrick GOLTZIUS: Pietà - 1596
Engraving, 187 x 129 mm. Bartsch 41, Hollstein 50, New Hollstein 31, 2nd state (of 2).
Impression of the 2nd state (of 2) with the date. Impressions of the 1st state are very rare.
Very fine impression printed on laid paper. In very good condition. Wide margins all around the platemark (sheet: 230 x 160 mm). Rare in this condition.
Provenance: Gabriel Cognacq (1880-1951), director of the Grands Magasins de la Samaritaine, with his collection mark printed in black on the reverse of the sheet (Lugt 538d); Roger Passeron (1920-2020), engineer and art historian, with his collection mark printed in burgundy on the reverse (Lugt 4096).
"Although this piece appears to be by Albert Durer, it is however the design and engraving of Henri Goltzius. It is one of those in which he succeeded so well in counterfeiting the manner of this great painter," writes Adam Bartsch (Le Peintre-Graveur, volume III, page 23, no. 41, translated by us).
Adam Bartsch was not the first to compare the Goltzius Pietà to the prints of Dürer. Huigen Leeflang recalls that as early as 1604 Karel van Mander considered the Pietà to be "cut precisely in the manner of Albert Dürer" ("ghesneden eygentlijck op de manier van Albert Durer") (Het Schilder-boeck, folio 285r). In particular, Goltzius copied or adapted elements of Dürer's 1520 engraving of The Virgin with the Swaddled Child. Huigen Leeflang also likens the drawing of Christ's body and its position on his mother's lap to the Pietà sculpted by Michelangelo for St. Peter's Basilica in Rome around 1497-1500, which Goltzius is said to have seen and probably drawn. Huigen Leeflang believes that Goltzius thus not only made good use of Dürer's meticulous technique but also achieved in his composition a perfect synthesis of Michelangelo and Dürer (Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617): Drawings, Prints and Paintings, 2003, chapter "The Virtuoso Engravings, 1592-1600", no. 81, pp. 226-227).