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Ludolph Büsinck

(circa 1599–1669, Münden)

The Flautist. Chiaroscuro woodcut from three blocks after George Lallemand. 26 x 20.8 cm. Le Blanc 24; Hollstein 23 I (of II).

This spirited depiction of a flautist wearing oriental dress and a feathered hat, which is remarkable for its technical virtuosity and the concentrated method of its composition, is one of the most appealing works in Ludolph Büsinck’s printed oeuvre. The mise-en-page with the half-length figure of the young musician is of great visual conciseness. 

Ludolph Büsinck, a painter, draughtsman and wood engraver, was born between 1599 and 1602 in Münden, where he worked for most of his life. In 1623 he was in Paris, where he produced chiaroscuro woodcuts after designs by George Lallemand for Melchior Tavernier, a publisher of prints. One of the first to introduce coloured chiaroscuro woodcuts in Paris, Büsinck returned to Münden in 1630. His corpus of some three dozen prints shows him to be a past master of coloured woodcuts and betrays the influence of Caravaggio and Bartolomeo Coriolano combined with elements of the Dutch style. Around 1620 Büsinck journeyed through the Netherlands, where he undoubtedly came across the chiaroscuro woodcuts of Hendrick Goltzius. His depictions of musicians have also been associated with Gerrit Honthorst and his circle. 

This splendid sheet is a characteristic and excellent example of Northern European Caravaggism. A superb, contrasting and perfectly preserved early impression, before the address of Melchior Tavernier; with wide margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in impeccable condition.

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