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Lucas Kilian

(1579–1637, Augsburg)

Pietà with Angels (Descent from the Cross). Engraving after Joseph Heintz the Elder. 44.7 x 26.2 cm. 1608. Nagler 17, Hollstein 22. Watermark: Coat of arms of Bavaria.

Lucas Kilian, an outstanding representative of the Augsburg family of publishers and engravers active from the 16th to the 18th century, produced vedute, designs for arts and crafts and ornamental sheets as well as numerous portrait engravings, thereby significantly influencing the contemporary development of the latter genres. In addition he reproduced paintings by Italian masters and artists active under Rudolf II, as in the case of this Pietà by Joseph Heintz the Elder from 1608. Kilian made ten engravings after works by the Basle-born painter Heintz, who was appointed chamber painter to Rudolf II in 1591. Today, the Pietà is thought to be in the collection of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Paul in Carinthia.

The lamentation scene is imbued with an almost playful Baroque pathos, the slightly mannered figure types matching the imagery current at the time of Rudolf II. Employing a brilliant, differentiated engraving technique, Kilian creates a softly gradated chiaroscuro effect and a stunning texture, for example in the angels’ wings. A superb, contrasting impression, trimmed close to or just inside the platemark, with thread margins around the same at the bottom. Minor ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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