COORNHERT, Dirck Volkertszoon (1522-1590) - MACK, Georg the Elder (fl. 1556-1601) - HEEMSKERCK, Maarten Van (1498-1574). The Death of Charles, Duke of Bourbon, and the Capture of Rome. Antwerp: Hieronymous Cock, 1556.

$ 60,000.00

Single sheet, mounted and framed (6 x 9 inches). FINE engraving and etching, with transparent wash and body color, highlighted with gold and silver.

Provenance: Signed "GM," most likely Georg Mack the Elder.

First edition. EXTREMELY FINE engraving by Coornhert after Maarten van Heemskerck, ILLUMINATED and SIGNED by Georg Mack the Elder. Exhibited in "Painted Prints: The Revelation of Color in Northern Renaissance & Baroque Engravings, Etchings & Woodcuts," 2002, no. 42, at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Number 3 in a series of 12 engravings entitled "The Victories of Emperor Charles V."

"In 1556 Hieronymus Cock published a series of 12 engravings, with a separate title page, on the theme of the victories of Emperor Charles V. The designs were by Maarten van Heemskerck, and the plates were cut by Dirck Volckertsz. Coornhert…'The victories of Charles V' exalts the mighty deeds of the emperor. The title page refers to the prints as 'images of paternal triumphs' ('paternarum victoriarum imagines'), and the dedication is to Charles's successor as Lord of the Netherlands, so the series may well have been intended to urge Philip to follow in his father's footsteps…

"The fall of Charles de Bourbon is the theme of the third print, with its caption: 'Bourbon is struck to the ground, and the imperial army storms the walls of Rome and plunders the wretched city.' A halberdier who has rushed to the scene can only look on in powerless dismay as Bourbon pitches backwards from the ladder placed against a tower-like structure that forms part of the city walls. Others are scaling a second ladder to his right, and the intensity of the battle in the city is visible on both sides of this section of the wall. The Tiber flows by on the left, with a curiously peaceful scene in the foreground showing two men returning from a watermill floating on the river, each burdened with a pitcher.

"The composition of this print, with its odd tower-like construction in the center, looks somewhat contrived. Yet this particular print is astonishingly accurate from a topographical point of view. Cellini says that it was by the Campo Santo that he shot Bourbon. At that time the wall around the Vatican stopped at the banks of the Tiber, ending in a tower - the very one displayed in this engraving. The Tiber bends at this point, and the view to the north-west from the foot of the tower did indeed correspond with Heemskerck's drawing, which has, of course, been transmuted into its mirror-image in the engraving. From left to right, from the tower one can see the campanile of old St. Peter's and the church itself, then the obelisk that still stood to the south of the old basilica, with the new St. Peter's under construction. By 1534 only the four central pillars by Raphael and the arches from the dome resting on them had been built, as shown in the print. The round building is Santa Maria della Febbre, which belonged to the old St. Peter's complex.

"Heemskerck was able to consult his own sketches for this print. His Rome sketchbooks contain a number of drawings of the area around St. Peter's. Not even the floating water-mill in the foreground was invented; it appears precisely as it is here in an anonymous pen drawing of ca. 1540 with a view of the castle of Sant'Angelo" (Rosier, "The victories of Charles V: a series of prints by Maarten van Heemskerck, 1555-56").

"The Nuremberg court records indicate that the Mack family - Hans, Georg the Elder, and Georg the Younger - were among the most active and important 'Briefmaler' and 'Illuministen' in the city in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries...The family's output of painted prints was prodigious, and many of the most sumptuously colored engravings known today were executed by them. Their painted prints must also have been admired during their day, because they identified their work with monograms. The family members painted in a refined style, imitative of miniature painting and manuscript illumination, employing a diverse palette of transparent and opaque colors" (Dackerman, "Painted Prints: The Revelation of Color" catalogue). New Hollstein 526.

72MMS247