A Mask Held by Two Genii (First State)


Hans Sebald Beham (1500-1550), A Mask Held by Two Genii (First State) 1544, engraving, Bartsch 228, Pauli, Hollstein 232, first state (of 2),  [initialed and dated in the plate], in excellent condition, trimmed on the platemark but outside of the borderline,  archival mounting. 1 15/16 x 2 7/8 inches.

A brilliant impression of the rare first state.

In the second state lines were added to the right hand of the geni at the left; in this first state impression these lines have yet to be added (see detail below).

Provenance: Unidentified collector EW (with initials in graphite verso, not located in Lugt).

Beham was one of the Northern Renaissance Little Masters, so called because of their eminence in producing small-scale engravings such as A Mask Held by Two Genii.  Beham was born in Nuremberg in 1500, and may have trained under Durer, though his training is no more certain than that of his younger brother Barthel.  He made his first engraving in 1518, and later became known for producing woodcuts, as well as engravings.

A Mask Held by two Genii is one of the better known small prints made by Beham which has (apparently) served as the basis for decoration of objects during the Northern Renaissance, objects such as clocks, locks, cups, ceramics, stained glass windows, boxes, cabinets, swords, etc.