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Willem de Passe

(1598 Cologne – circa 1637 London)

The Five Senses. Five engravings after Crispijn de Passe the Elder. Each approx. 22 x 16.5 cm. Franken 1119–1123, Hollstein 28–30, 31 II, 32 I (of II).

The Cologne-born engraver, Willem de Passe, was the third son of Crispijn de Passe the Elder and one of his pupils. Shortly before 1620 Willem moved to London, where he was to live and work until his death in 1637.

The present very rare series, which he made after inventions by his father, is distinguished by a multitude of original, humorous and subtly observed iconographical details. The highly sophisticated, detailed engraving technique is entirely in keeping with the tradition of the Passe studio. The depiction of Odor, in which a cavalier hands a rose from a bulging flower basket to a splendidly dressed lady, is extremely graceful. Unusually risqué is the iconography of Tactus, in which a passionate suitor fondles the bosom of his beloved, while Cupid is pricked by a dove. The individual depictions, in which couples are shown engaging in various activities, can also be interpreted as allegories of marital harmony. Superb, crisp and harmonious impressions, trimmed to the framing line or with thread margins surrounding it. Hollstein 35 before the deletion of the artist’s name. Hollstein 28 with a contemporary correction of the word Visus in pen and black ink. In excellent condition. With the duplicate stamp of Ulm Museum (not in Lugt).

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