Swann Auction Galleries

November 4, 2004
New York, NY, US

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Description: The Virgin on a Crescent with a Crown of Stars.

Dotted metalcut, circa 1460. 155x113 mm; 6 1/8x4 1/2 inches, small margins. Pale scattered soiling. A very good, dark and evenly printed impression of this extremely scarce, early print.

The current work is likely of Upper Rhenish origin, as it compares closely to Saint Margaret, metalcut, circa 1460, in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (Schreiber 2697b), and to Saint Bernard of Siena, metalcut, circa 1460, in the Albertina, Vienna (Schreiber 2568). In all 3 prints, the floral filigree background design is almost identical. Field notes, in Fifteenth Century Woodcuts and Metalcuts from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, that these metalcuts by an anonymous printmaker from the Upper Rhine stand apart from the more crudely produced metalcuts at this time, notably in this artist's use of "several sizes of dots carefully articulated to form pictorial patterns rather than the linear designs which were used for the flatter backgrounds." He further states that, "They are distinguished by their large isolated black figures, often silhouetted against the white ground of the paper." Another impression of this print is in the Bibliothèque Nationale, see Les Deux Cents Incunables Xylographiques, 1903, number 67. cf. Schreiber 2497; Heitz, Einblattdrucke, Band 33, n. 109.
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