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Johanna Sibilla Küsel, Nouveau Testament, 1677.

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€3.750,00 EUR
Regular price
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€3.750,00 EUR


A demonstration of etching mastery, for private devotion



Johanna Sibilla Küsel (1646-1717); Jacques Callot; Bosse (?)

Nouveau Testament faict par Iacques Callot qui na sceu finir le reste prevenu de la mort, l'annee 1635.

Augsburg, [Melchior Küsel (I)], 1677.

12 etched plates, each ca. 6,5 x 8,5 cm. at plate line, sheets various sizes. Inconsistently signed in the plate “Johana Sibilla Küslin. f.” or “J.S.K.” and numbered 2-12. Title plate not numbered and signed “Augusta Vinde [= Augsburg] / Johana Sibilla Küslin fecit / 1677”. Versos blanc. Probably all printed on one sheet of laid paper.

Complete wide-margined first-state set in good impressions of Johanna Sibilla Küsel’s 12 New Testament plates. We offer this set in loose sheets, reflecting their original publication format. Traditionally, they would be trimmed and bound into an album, commonly utilized for private devotion, a practice often observed by women.

Johanna Sibilla Küsel copied these images after Jacques Callot’s print series from 1635 that he did not finish due to his death. Küsel’s plates are mirrored compared to those by Callot, meaning that she made 12 completely new etchings while closely following the original designs. Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that she was quite free in the details instead of trying to make exact copies: she took this opportunity to showcase her mastery of the etching technique in such a challenging small format. Thieme-Becker agrees on this: "Her virtuoso technique is particularly evident in the meticulous copies after Callot."

The set was published by Johanna Sibylla’s father, Melchior Küsel (I), son-in-law of Matthaeus Merian. He was also a printmaker and prolific publisher in Augsburg, and Johanna Sibylla was one of his five daughters. She is perceived as the "most talented" and indeed produced most artworks under her own name. Following her father's passing in 1684, she assumed leadership of the family publishing enterprise for a brief period of two years until she married artist Johann Ulrich Krauss, after which she signed her works with Kraussin, Kräusin, or with Krausen.

There seems to be some confusion about the number of plates made by Callot. The BM states that the series published in 1635 by Israël Henriet consists of "eleven plates representing scenes from the New Testament; Callot etched 10 scenes before death prevented him from finishing the series. Henriet commissioned a title to another engraver, traditionally identified as Abraham Bosse (although this plate is not mentioned either by Duplessis or Blum)." But their photo at X,4.32 shows a sheet with 12 numbered plates and the Curator's comment “from a series of ten, see 1861,0713.67”. Plate 12 on this sheet is not signed by Callot, but is mirrored in Küsel’s series. So if this plate was added after Callot’s death, it was not done by Küsel. There is also confusion about the date of creation. According to Hollstein, the date on the title-page is 1672, but on the BM and our impressions, the last digit clearly shows a 7.

Condition: all very good impressions with very wide margins, only the title and plate 2 trimmed at ca. 1 cm. to the plate line. Very minor occasional spotting mainly in the margins, otherwise in excellent condition.

Reference: Thieme/Becker XXII, 74. Hollstein XIX, 301-312; 1635 edition: Lieure 1418-1427 (Callot).

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