Four Evangelists


Hans Sebald Beham (1500-1550), Four Evangelists, engravings (4), 1541 [initialed, titled and numbered in the plates]. References: Bartsch 55-58, Pauli, Hollstein 57-60, early states (see state descriptions below). In very good condition (tiny loss upper left – John; slight stain – Luke; tiny nick upper left – Mark). With small margins, 1 3/4 x 1 1/4 inches. Archival mounting.

Provenance: D.G. de Arozarena (Lugt 109), another unidentified mark, both verso.

Fine rich early impressions, very rare in these early states.

Luke is the first state of five, with 1 hatching on the shoulder of the bull but before the diagonal hatching on the bull’s neck in the second state, and the additional work of the later states.

John is the first (or possibly second) state of five, with two hatchings in the deepest shadow on the coat to the right of the eagle’s head, but perhaps with a third diagonal characteristic of the second state (but before the fourth diagonal of the third state).

Matthew is the first state of five, with the buttons on the book visible only with a magnifying glass, before the buttons were made clearly visible, and before the third diagonal hatching to the right of the writing materials added in the third state.

Mark is the first state of four, before the third hatching in the shadowed part of the right wing above the book.

Sebald Beham was born in Nuremberg in 1500. In 1525 he and his brother Barthold, together with Georg Pencz, were thrown out of Nuremberg following an investigation into their agnosticism, but they returned the next year. Sebald continued to get into trouble: he was expelled again for publishing an essay on the proportions of the horse which was taken from Durer’s unpublished Art of Measurement.