Offered here is this very scarce engraving by the eminent French artist Jacques Callot from the series "The Life of Ferdinand I de'Medici" (also called The Medici Battles). This engraving is entitled "Attacco delle Galere di Ferd:o I.o con galere Turche." The subject, a Naval battle, displays Christian and Turkish galleys interlocked for boarding and hand-to-hand fighting.
This engraving, first state before inscriptions, would be plate No. 10 from a set of 16 plates (plus two left unfinished) representing the main events of the reign of Ferdinand I de Medici. The set was commissioned to Callot by the court of Florence on 23 October 1614, and the printing probably ended in 1620 (Meaume dates the set from 1616 while according to Lieure, Callot worked on it from 1615 to 1619/20) - Catalogue Raisonne' - Bibliothèque Nationale II.191.157; Lieure I.56-57.157 ii/ii; Meaume 544
The image between plate-marks measures 8-7/8 x 11-13/16 inches, of which was printed on a sheet of hand made rag paper that measures 10-5/8 x 14-5/16 inches.
CONDITION: An incredibly well preserved specimen of 17th century engraving having a strong, clear impression-with plate-marks evenly distributed all around the image. The sheet with wide, if not close to full, margins all around has some faint foxing spots visible near the top, right edge of the image in the margin area and a spot or two in the upper section of the right side margin. Framer's (?), pencil notations along bottom edge of sheet. The left side of the sheet has an uneven edge and there are 2 hinges affixed to the upper corners.
The sheet does have some embedded rag particles which are somewhat raised, but are completely natural and due to the fact that this type of paper was manufactured with a pulp made from Linen, cotton, silk, hemp, etc., and wood pulp was not available until the late 18th century, but not perfected for use until after 1800.
The sheet is hinged to a very old mat, but the engraving appears to have been cleaned at some point in the past. The sheet is completely free of any holes, tears or other damage, and there are no signs of repairs of any kind. Overall, this engraving is near pristine and an exquisite example of Jacques Callot's superb talents!
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