Philip Galle (1537-1612)

The Story of the Prodigal Son – The Prodigal Son Leaving His Father’s House Netherlands, 1562 Engraving This is the first in a series of six engravings based on the story of the Prodigal Son from the New Testament (Luke 15). It tells a moral tale of adolescent rebellion in which the son is shown … Read more

Orazio Farinati (1559 – after 1616)

The Madonna and Child with St John the Baptist Verona, about 1583 Etching Paper: 248 x 223 mm; mount: 557 x 403 mm This popular devotional grouping of the Madonna and the infant Jesus and St John the Baptist is intended to depict the cousins’ reunion in Egypt, after John was carried to join Jesus … Read more

Andrea Riccio (1470-1532)

African Boy Riding a upon a Billy-Goat Padua, Model and Cast: early 1500s Bronze, marble and gilt bronze 21.7 x 22.1 cm excluding base The boy holds a shell, cast from an actual specimen of a common Mediterranean mollusc, and probably intended to hold ink. Therefore, this is ostensibly a functional object, likely for a … Read more

Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)

A Man with an Oar Netherlands, about 1520/21 Pen and brown ink 16 x 10.4 cm  This fine drawing is one of a number of works believed to have been made during Dürer’s trip to the Netherlands in around 1520-21. It was among those taken from the museum of the Lubomirski family, established in the … Read more

Agostino Carracci (1557-1602)

Ecce Homo Bologna, 1587 Etching Paper: 45 x 34.4 cm; mount: 63 x 51.5 cm  Depicting a standard cycle of the Passion of Christ, the words ‘Ecce Homo’ (‘Behold the Man’) were used by Pontius Pilate to present Christ to the jeering crowds before his crucifixion. Mary swoons in the foreground, an unusual addition to … Read more

Ascribed to Jan de Beer (about 1475 – before 1528)

Joseph and the Suitors (recto), The Nativity (verso) This panel is painted on both sides and it formed part of an altarpiece or a screen illustrating the life of the Virgin Mary. She is shown in a nocturnal scene adoring the infant Christ. Two shepherds approach through the door to the right, and Joseph with … Read more

Agostino Carracci (1557-1602)

Sheet of Caricature Heads Parma, 1594 Pen and brown ink on paper 20.2 x 28 cm This sheet of head studies can be viewed in the tradition of physiognomic studies began by Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) when conducting anatomical investigations. However, rather than documenting realistic detail, Carracci has reduced his sketched heads to the bare … Read more

Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)

St Christopher Nuremberg, 1521 Engraving Paper: 11.7 x 74 cm; mount: 55.7 x 40.5 cm  This print represents St Christopher, a third century martyr who served others by carrying them safely across a dangerous river. Christopher means ‘Christ-bearer’ and here he is shown bowing under the weight of a child who later revealed himself to … Read more

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8 – 1543)

Design for stained glass About 1520 Pen and grey wash with traces of black chalk 375 x 295 mm Hans Holbein the Younger, later court painter of Henry VIII, made several designs for stained glass windows in his early career. The inclusion of a mitre and crozier suggests that the design was probably made for a … Read more


Hercules and Cacus Haarlem, 1588 Woodcut 409 X 331 MM Hercules raises his club ready to strike Cacus, a fire-breathing monster, who cowers beneath him.  The cows, which Cacus had stolen from Hercules, crowd the right-hand side. Secondary characters add to the chaos of the scene by cluttering the background. The focus, however, is firmly on … Read more

Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617)

The companions of Cadmus devoured by the dragon Haarlem, 1588 Engraving 253 X 318 MM Goltzius worked with the artist, Cornelius van Haarlem, at the ‘Academy’ of Harlem, who made the painting (now at the National Gallery London) from which this engraving derives.  Ripping claws, fangs gouging deep into flesh, scattered heads and shredded bodies … Read more