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Raphael Sadeler the Elder

(1560 Antwerp – 1628 Venice or 1632 Munich)

Christ on the Cross. Engraving after Joos van Winghe. 42 x 28.5 cm. 1590. Bartsch 31, Hollstein 31. Watermark: Crowned double eagle.

This impressive, large-format sheet shows Raphael Sadeler, the brother of Aegidius and Johannes, at the very height of his art. He enrolled in the Antwerp Guild in 1582 and accompanied his brother Johannes, who was ten years older, on his journey to Germany and Italy. From 1591 to 1594 Raphael was active in Munich and then resided in Venice until 1604. In that year he was appointed to the court of Elector Maximilian I of Bavaria. This emotionally charged composition with its Mannerist liveliness of movement is based on a painting by the Flemish artist, Joos van Winghe, the former court painter to the governor Alessandro Farnese in Brussels, who had lived in Frankfurt for religious reasons since 1588. Van Winghe developed an independent Mannerist style that put him on an equal footing with Bartholomäus Spranger and the masters of the Haarlem School. Sadeler is eminently successful in transferring the drama and wealth of colours in de Winghe’s painting to the medium of engraving. The appeal of this rare sheet lies in its delicate and intricate linework. The artist demonstrates great proficiency in leaving small areas white, which enables him to achieve a shimmering, invigorating chiaroscuro effect. A deeply felt religiousness is one of the hallmarks of printed work by late 16th century Flemish artists such as the Wierix brothers and members of the Sadeler dynasty. A very fine, nuanced impression with even margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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