A Mask Held by Two Genii (Second State)


Hans Sebald Beham (1500-1550), A Mask Held by Two Genii, 1544, engraving, Bartsch 228, Pauli, Hollstein 232, second state of two,[initialed and dated in the plate], in very good condition, trimmed on or possibly just into the platemark but outside of the borderline (on the borderline at left), some ink drawing verso not visible recto, archival mounting. 1 15/16 x 2 7/8 inches.

A fine black evenly printed and clear impression. In this second state lines have been added to the right hand of the genius at the left.

Provenance: Dr. Karl Herweg, with his stamp verso (Lugt 3974).

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.