While works by the old masters are often known to depict religious scenes, their work occasionally strayed into fantastic or mythic territory as well, showing a range of creatures and legends. Here we've taken a tour through some of the various monsters and myths represented in our upcoming auction of Old Master Through Modern Prints.
: Albrecht Dürer, Beast With Horns Like a Lamb,
woodcut, 1498. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000.
While still technically a religious image, master German Renaissance printmaker Albrecht Dürer's apocalyptic print certainly includes some intimidating beasts.
Lot 312: Pieter Bruegel (after), Greed, engraving, 1558. Estimate $5,000 to $8,000.
This engraving is full of all manner of of greedy anthropomorphic monsters, from the giant windmill head in the back to the frog-mouthed mer-creature downing a few of his fishy brethren in the bottom right corner.
Lot 476: Francisco José de Goya, Allá vá eso, etching and aquatint, circa 1799. Estimate $2,000 to $3,000.
From Goya's Los Caprichos, this etching shows a witch and a devil or demon, along with a cat and a serpent, often thought to be familiars of witches.
: Hans Baldung Grien, Sleeping Groom and a Sorceress,
woodcut, 1544. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000.
The most gifted student of Dürer, Hans Baldung Grien's work explored themes of witchcraft and sorcery, a topic of fascination and fear in Strasbourg during his time there.
Lot 341: Giovanni B. Castiglioni, Circe Changing Ulysses' Men into Beasts, etching, circa 1651. Estimate $1,500 to $2,500.
A figure of myth alternatively represented as a sorceress or goddess associated with magic, in Homer's The Odyssey the titular character must rescue his men from Circe, who has turned them into animals.
Lot 305: Hans Sebald Beham, The Lady and Death, engraving, 1541. Estimate $1,500 to $2,500.
Depictions of Death by various printmakers range from ominous to amusing. Beham's Death may be somewhere in between, with his skeletal features under a jester-like hood.
Lot 435: Jacques Chiquet, Cat under Arrest, engraving, circa 1700. Estimate $800 to $1,200.
Slightly more whimsical, but still fantastic, Chiquet's piece shows a band of anthropomorphic beasts arresting a cat for his crime, which is described just below.
For more fantastic beasts, mythic creatures and mysterious beings, take a look at our complete Old Master Through Modern Prints catalogue.
Labels: Albrecht Durer, creatures, fantasy, Francisco Goya, Giovanni B Castiglioni, Hans Baldung Grien, Hans Sebald Beham, Jacques Chiquet, myth, Old Master Drawings, Pieter Bruegel