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Last updated: 1/25/2017
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Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550): Old and New Testament Drawing and Prints

Beham: Biblical / Beham: History, Myth, and Allegory

German Drawings: Hans Sebald Beham / Virgil Solis / Hans von Aachen / Joseph Heinrich Roos
German 16th century printmakers: Heinrich Aldegrever, Jost Amman, Hans Sebald Beham, Hans Brosamer
Hans Burgkmair / Lucas Cranach, Albrecht Durer, Albrecht Durer (After), Hans Holbein (After), Hopfer Brothers
Georg Pencz / Aegidius Sadeler, Hans Schäufelein, Virgil Solis, Wolfgang Stuber.

Images of Women in Renaissance Prints and Drawings

Biblical Subjects / Mythological Subjects / Allegorical Subjects / Historical Subjects
Hans Sebald Beham, one of the "Little Masters" or Kleinmeister (so called because of the diminutive size of the engravings they tended to make), may have studied under Albrecht Durer in Nuremberg, but about 1525, during a period of religious unrest, he, his brother Barthel (1502-1540), and Gerog Pencz were expelled from the city (which had beome Lutheran) for heresy (preferring Andreas Karstadt and Thomas Muntzer to the new Lutheran orthodoxy). After a few attempts to return quietly, Sebald left Nuremberg and worked in Ingolstadt, Munich, and Frankfurt (c. 1531) until his death. Artistically, Sebald and barthel Beham were much influenced by Albrecht Dürer (d. 1528), Albrecht Altdorfer, and Raphael, through prints after his paintings by many artists, but especially by Marcantonio Raimondi. He was a prolific printmaker, making 252 engravings, 18 etchings, and 1500 woodcuts (many of them for books). As Alison Stewart's entry in the Grove Dictionary of Art (NY: Oxford University Press, 1996) points out, "The subjects of Sebald's prints were various: traditional scenes from the Old and New Testaments and from lives of the saints, portraits, allegories, secular and historical subjects and classical themes and motifs. They range from tiny and simple woodcut illustrations depicting scenes from Genesis to expertly crafted and finely engraved scenes from Classical antiquity, which often exploit the erotic potential of their subjects (e.g. Cimon and Pero, 1523-25, Pauli nos. 76-77). His small engravings are highly accomplished and may have been collected even in his lifetime. He also designed prints of extremely large size and fine craftsmanship" (3: 505-06). In addition to making engravings, Beham and his studio produced drawings for glass painters and makers of stained glass window.

Bibliography: Robert A. Koch, ed. The Illustrated Bartsch 15: Early German Masters: Barthel Beham / Hans Sebald Beham (NY: Abaris Books), Christie, Manson & Woods, Ltd. Hans Sebald Beham: The collection of prints formed by Gordon Nowell-Usticke (London, 1978); Gustav Pauli, Hans Sebald Beham. Ein kritisches Verzeichnis seiner Kupferstiche, Radierungen und Holzschnitte (Baden-Baden, 1974); Adolf Rosenberg, Sebald und Barthel Beham. Zwei Maler der deutschen Renaissance (Leipzig: E.A. Seemann, 1875); Herbert Zschelletzschky, Die "drei gottlosen Maler von Nürnberg". Sebald Beham, Barthel Beham u. Georg Pencz ; histor. Grundlagen u. ikonolog. Probleme ihrer Graphik zu Reformations- u. Bauernkriegszeit (Leipzig: E. A. Seemann Verlag, 1975).
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), The Fall: Adam and Eve Seated (Bartsch 5, Pauli 6). Original engraving, 1536. A very good impression on laid paper of this print, trimmed on or just within the platemark. Adam, still holding the as-yet unbitten apple looks in Eve's eyes as he kisses her; Eve, already filled with desire, as Milton would suggest in Paradise Lost, embraces him with one hand and touches herself with the other. Signed and dated lower left. Image size: 80x53mm. Price: $3500.

The work is reproduced here larger than actual size.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), The Drunkeness of Noah (Bartsch Woodcuts 6, Pauli 276). Original woodcut, 1537. A very good impression on laid paper of this work for Biblische historien. This woodcut portrays the episode when the one just man in the world gets drunk and passes out with his genitals showing. Two of his sons cover him without looking; the third looks and is condemned by God to become his brothers' servant. The sinless new world is no longer sinless. Michelangelo also portrayed this scene on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Image size: 51x71mm. Price: $1500.

The work is reproduced here slightly larger than actual size.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), Lot and his daughters (Bartsch 9, Pauli 10). Good impression on laid paper of the only state of this very rare print. Trimmed on or just inside the platemark. Laid down on old laid paper. Lot, the only just man in Sodom, is savedd from the fires that consume the city. His wife, having been told not to look book as Sodom burns, is turned into a rock; Lot's daughters, thinking that the burning of Sodom marks the end of life on earth, decide they need to get Lot drunk so that they can repopulate what they assume to be an otherwise unpeopled world. Like Adam and Noah, sin appears to be present in every new beginning.Image size: 58mm in diameter. Price: $2800.

The work is reproduced here slightly larger than actual size.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), Judith and Her Servant Standing (Bartsch 10, Pauli 11). Original engraving, c. 1531. A very good early 16th-century impression with inky plate edges and thread margins. Rare in this condition. Illustrated in Eva / Ave: Women in Renaissance and Baroque Prints (National Gallery of Art, 1990), plate 25. Image size: 108x69mm. Price: $3500.

The work is reproduced here at actual size on my 27-inch monitor.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), Judith and Her Servant Standing (Bartsch 10, Pauli 11). Original engraving, c. 1531. A good early impression on laid paper with small margins outside the platemark. Illustrated in Eva / Ave: Women in Renaissance and Baroque Prints (National Gallery of Art, 1990), plate 25. Image size: 108x69mm. Price: $3000.

The work is reproduced here at actual size on my 27-inch monitor.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), Judith and Her Servant Walking to the left (Bartsch 11, Pauli 12). Original engraving, c. 1531. A very good early impression with good plate tone of this scarce print on laid paper. Very rare. Trimmed on or within the platemark. Illustrated in Eva/Ave: Images of Women in Renaissance Prints (National Gallery of Art, 1990), plate 26. As the image of Justice below suggests, Judith can also be seen as an embodiment of the virtue of Justice. Image size: 115x73mm. Price: $3500.

The work is reproduced here at actual size on my 27-inch monitor.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), Iusticia / Justice (Bartsch 132, Pauli 134 ii/iv). Original engraving, 1539. A fine early impression on laid paper with margins originally published as part of a series on the Seven Virtues. Ex D'Arenberg Collection. Image size: 38x24mm. Price: SOLD.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), Job conversing with his friends (Bartsch 141, Pauli 144ii/ii). Original engraving, c. 1547. A good impression on laid paper, strong and contrasty in the lower half of the image and a bit paler in the uper. trimmed on or within the platemark. Job, in rags, sits on the ground, while his friends try to convince him that he must have sinned for God to treat him as He has while Job maintains both his innocence and his faith that his redeemer liveth. Job's wife laments above; above her God reaches toward Job from the clouds. Signed HSB 47 top right. Image size: 71x106mm. Price: $3000.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), Infortvnivm / Misfortune (Bartsch 141, Pauli 144). Original engraving, c. 1541. A very good dark impression on laid paper. A downcast winged figure walks with a lobster through a hail storm while a small winged devil tries to slow her down. Nothing seems to be growing in the landscape through which she passes. The hail suggests the possibility of divine displeasure, the slow-moving lobster keeping pace with misfortuune and the devil impeding her progress suggests that misfortue can come as quickly as a hail storm but is slow in departing. Signed HSB in the plate top left. Image size: 81x54mm. Price: $3000.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), Infortvnivm / Misfortune (Bartsch 141, Pauli 144). Original engraving, c. 1541. A good impression with laid paper with a small paper loss top left mostly in the margin and a loss of the top right corner. A downcast winged figure walks with a lobster through a hail storm while a small winged devil tries to slow her down. Nothing seems to be growing in the landscape through which she passes. The hail suggests the possibility of divine displeasure, the slow-moving lobster keeping pace with misfortuune and the devil impeding her progress suggests that misfortue can come as quickly as a hail storm but is slow in departing. Signed HSB in the plate top left. Image size: 81x54mm. Price: $1,800.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), Melencolia / Melancholy (Bartsch 144, Pauli 145 iii/vi ). Original engraving, 1539. A brilliant impression with small margins all around. From the collection of K. M. Bern with his collector's stamp lower left. Image size: 79x52mm. Price: SOLD.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), and/or Studio. The three Marys discover that Christ has risen from his tomb. Pen and brown ink on tan laid paper, c. 1540. An exhibition held in 2000 at the Getty and the St. Louis Art Museum, Painting on Light: Drawings and Stained Glass in the Age of Durer and Holbein investigated the collaborations in the first half of the 16th century between artists and glassmakers that created a new efflorescence of stained glass windows painted by glass paints and designed by some of the greatest artists of the German Renaissance. This work was created either by the artist or by artists in his studio working under his supervision. Image size: c. 231mm in diameter. Price: SOLD.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), Christ standing upon the globe (Bartsch 40, Pauli 32). Original engraving, 1546. A very good impression on laid paper of this rare print, trimmed on or within the platemark. Christ, holding the standard of the Crucifixion, stands upon the globe as its savior. On either side of the oval contining Jesus and the globe, cherubim flutter in adoration and the dove of the Holy Spirit rests just above Jesus' glory. Dated 1546 in the plate lower left and signed HSB lower right. Image size: 70x49mm. Price: $3500.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), An Allegory of Christianity (Bartsch 128, Pauli 130 i/iv). Original engraving. A very good impression on laid paper of this rare print, trimmed just outside, on, and within the platemark. The central image is a winged figure with a crown of stars and oak leaves holding her flaming heart in her hand as an offering. Above it, a cherubic (seraphic?) face surrounded by a halo of light and flames is labelled LVMEN AETERNITAS (the Light of Eternity). In her other hand, she hold a cross labelled SPES (hope), FIDES (faith), and CHARITAS (love). She is standing upon a serpent, labelled DIABOLVS to indicate her triumph over Satan, a triumph signaled by the word VICTORIA to the left by her wings and signalled by the more amiguous word PRAEMIVM top left, suggesting either grace (gift) or a reward for her victory over herself, the world, and the devil. Image size: 77x47mm. Price: $5500.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), An Allegory of Christianity (Bartsch 128, Pauli 130 i/iv). Original engraving. A very good impression on laid paper of this rare print, trimmed trimmed just outside, on, and within the platemark. The central image is a winged figure with a crown of stars and oak leaves holding her flaming heart in her hand as an offering. Above it, a cherubic (seraphic?) face surrounded by a halo of light and flames is labelled LVMEN AETERNITAS (the Light of Eternity). In her other hand, she hold a cross labelled SPES (hope), FIDES (faith), and CHARITAS (love). She is standing upon a serpent, labelled DIABOLVS to indicate her triumph over Satan, a triumph signaled by the word VICTORIA to the left by her wings and signalled by the more amiguous word PRAEMIVM top left, suggesting either grace (gift) or a reward for her victory over herself, the world, and the devil. Faint traces of old glue on the verso are visible from the front even after the removal of the glue. Image size: 76x48mm. Price: $3500.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), Caritas /Charity (Bartsch 137, Pauli 139). Original engraving. A very good impression on laid paper of this rare print, trimmed on or within the platemark. Part of a set of Cognition and the Seven Virtues, this brilliant impression on laid paper depicts a nursing mother with two children. Inscribed "Charitatis Virtvs HSB" upper right. Trimmed just within the platemark. (Bartsch gives the size as 58x43mm; ours is 57x42mm). This work and Cimon and Pero seem to depict Christian and Roman charity (click for the image of a daughter sustaining her condemned father's life by breastfeeding him). Image size: 57x42mm. Price: $3000.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), The Marriage at Cana (Bartsch 23, Pauli 25). Original engraving. A very good dark impression with some wear on the table cloth on the right by Jesus' plate. Signed in the tablet top left: "SEBOLT / BEHAM / HSB." In the middle windo above the tree branches, someone has inked in "John 2-23," the biblicaal reference to this scene in the Gospel of St. John. This is Jesus' frist miracle after his baptism in JOhn's Gospel. Trimmed on or within the borders. Image size: 45x73mm. Price $2750.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), Saint Jerome (Bartsch 60, Pauli 64). Original engraving, 1529. A good impression on laid paperwith two small nicks on the left side and one bottom center. Trimmed on or just inside the platemark. Signed HSP in the plate lower left and dated 1529. Saint Anthony's head is derived from the soldier pulling at the top of Christ's robe in The Kiss of Judas from Dürer's Large Passion of 1510 (B. 7). St. Jerome, the hermit-scholar who translated the New Testament into Latin, producing the standard text of the New Testament until the translations into the vernacular began appearing in the 16th century, was a humanist hero. Erassmus prefaced his edition of the works of St. Jerome with a "Life of St. Jerome," making repeated references to the parallels and contrasts iin his own life with that of St. Jerome. Image size: 86x61mm. Price: $1750.
Hans Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550), Saint Anthony the Hermit (Bartsch 64, Pauli 68). Original engraving, 1521. A very good impression on laid paper of the only state of this very rare early engraving. Trimmed on or just inside the platemark. Signed and dated in the plate lower left. Saint Anthony's head is derived from the soldier pulling at the top of Christ's robe in The Kiss of Judas from Dürer's Large Passion of 1510 (B. 7). Beham shows the saint pausing in his writings to meditate upon Jesus suffering on his cross for all mankind. Image size: 91x63mm. Price: $3500.

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