“ The  Great  Hunter  in  the  Sky ”

“ changed 

into  the



 Scorpio ”



With  Differring  Interpretations  of  Orion’s  Origin .

Familiar the one as son of Poseidon, according to another myth an earth-born Bœothian who wanders over the sea to Chios where in the course of an amorous affair he is blinded, but gets eyesight back from Eos until in later poetry Zeus places him along with his hound Sirius among the stars “from where still today he

shows  the  course  to  the  mariners .

“ Between there was a life with various stormy events (as then also his appearance and setting is good for stormy times), which engaged the Olympus, but could not break this strong masculine life. ”

To be told anew musically even recently by “Casken’s colored-splintered orchestral piece” as the

“ ancient myth of Poseidon’s son Orion, the hunter (1st part), whom Helios cures of his blindness (‘Sea Voyage Towards the Sun’), whom a scorpion stabs to death (scherzo-like 3rd part), and who finally vanishes into the constellation of Scorpio (calm finale in constant change of the perspective of the colors in multifariously fanned out orchestra setting) .”

“ Of  all  winter  constellations  Orion ,

the  great  hunter  in  the  sky ,

doubtless  is  the  most  prominent  one ”

(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung April 4, 1992 + December 31, 2004) “named originally after Nimrod”, the founder of the Babylonian empire and “after Josephus identical with the builder of the Babylonian Tower” (Meyers Konv.-Lex., 4th ed., XII, 189), after Moses I, 10/9 “a mighty hunter before the Lord”.

Here  then  now  in  his  zenith

as  “ a  beautiful  and  mighty  giant  and  hunter ”

with  the  daughter  of  Zeus  from  whom

“ she asked for arrow and bow and all mountains to hunt on the same … Her real field is the open nature with its mountains and valleys, forests, meadows, springs, and rivers; there she is about with the nymphs … now as vigorous huntress … Arcadia, rich in mountains and woods, was considered as her favorite district where at many places she had … sacred hunting districts and holy animals.

For as tutelary goddess of wood and hunting … all game is dear to her and sacred … As goddess of the hunt annually in spring in her honor

the  feast  of  Elaphebolia … ” , the  Stag  Hunts ,

was celebrated, including the second half of our March and the first one of April

(Meyer’s Conversations-Lexikon, 4th ed., I, 879 f. & V, 499).

And  in  its  dynamic  of  going  ahead , the  expectation  of  experience , shortly , the  self-certitude  of  antiquity , quite  in  thematic  contrast  to  St. Hubert  as  the  Christian  doubtful  about  his  doings :

“ Oriental  Prime  Myth

The  Great  Hunter & the  Huntress ”

Giorgio Ghisi, Orion carries Artemis/Diana

reflected  here  then  in  its  couple

Orion & Artemis

Ghisi’s  Orion

far  rarer

than  Dürer’s  Saint  Hubert ,

which it follows nevertheless with the inevitable distance of the less known brand

to  the  one  of  the  market  leader .

So all in all

the  equal-sized  companion  praising  the  hunt

to  the  latter’s  Christian  hunter


a  rare  main  sheet  of  old  master  prints  into  the  bargain .

Of which an intimate connoisseur of Greek and especially Oriental mythology

recently mailed

“ I  found  the  motif  on  your  website

extraordinarily  fine ”.

Giorgio Ghisi

called Mantuano

1520 Mantua 1582

The Allegory of Hunting
The Hunter Orion carries the Tutelary Goddess Artemis/Diana

Surrounded by noble pack, the spike in the right, the sword with griffin-head pommel in the belt, thick network over the left, and the shoes adorned with lion heads, he enters, laurel-adorned, the forest. On his shoulders Diana, holding the bow on her knee, the quiver on her back. Behind the two, still in the open field, the procession of the nymphs, likewise with hounds, spikes, and bows. In the increasingly farther background opened by a pregnant solitary tree a blocking griffin, two hounds hounding the stag, setting up of nets, vibrating village life. Engraving after Luca Penni, called Romanus (Florence 1500/04 – Paris after Sep. 21, 1556, or Apr. 12, 1557). 1556. Inscribed: LVCA PENNIS .R. INVEN. GEORGIVS GHISI MNT. FA (ligated) .M.DLVI. / Romæ Claudij Duchetti formis, otherwise as below. 14¼ × 10 in (36.2 × 25.3 cm).

Lewis/Lewis 22, III (of IV, recte V as unaware of the Orlandi state); Bartsch 43; Nagler V, 139 + XI, 81; Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon LIII, pp. 83 ff. – Not in Schwerdt mentioning III, 68 only the pendant “Venus with Adonis returning Home from the Hunt”. – Lower margin quatrain: IN SYLVIS HABITANS AB AMORIS CARCERE LIBER … – Watermark: Eagle in crowned Circle (Briquet 207 [Rome 1573-1576]; L.-L. 13 [about 1580]).

With the address of Duchetti (Claude Duchet from Orgelet/Jura, provable since 1544, d. Rome Dec. 19, 1585; nephew and part-successor of the legendary printer and publisher Antonio Lafreri [Antoine Lafréry, Orgelet 1512 – Rome 1577] already working for Ghisi, too), before those of Giovanni Orlandi (about 1590-1640) as not having become known to L.-L. + Giovanni Giacomo De Rossi (also Rubeis, Rosso; after 1640).

Slightly grey impression as proven for this state elsewhere, too, of imaginably finest condition. Perceptible on the back only a touch of stipple foxing and the suggestion of a perfectly smoothed horizontal fold. Otherwise absolutely untouched and with even margin of 4-5 mm all around.

The  rich , splendid  patronage  sujet

of  the  pre-Christian  hunter ,

Poseidon’s  son ,

after Luca Penni. Belonging to the school of Raphael and active in Fontainebleau since c. 1530 where he appears in the royal account-books of 1537-1550. On his return from Antwerp Ghisi made a halt there, too, 1555/56 and in such a manner was “probably personally acquainted with him” (AKL). He is passed on, however, „almost only by engravings after his drawings“ (Nagler, Monogramists, IV, 1381) which therefore provided “for the propagation of the style of the school of Raphael” (Th.-B.). Present

“ finely  drawn  sheet ”

is one of Ghisi’s main works, created in at least chronologically/locally close touch with Penni, thus one decade later, after the mid-forties had led to “increasing technical maturity”. Foremost, however, after the downright caesura-like years in Antwerp (1550/54, if at the express invitation of the Antwerp engraver Hieronymus Cock staying in Rome in the late 40ties, establishing then his publishing house Aux quatre vents in 1548, and publishing four substantial works by Ghisi, is not documented) as

niemeyer’s — where  diligence  is  a  matter  of  temper

“ decisive for both the development of a personal style and the refinement of his technical skill. By this (Ghisi) constituted an exception at his time when contrarily the stay of north alpine artists in Italy, foremost in Rome, was the rule (Bellini 1998).

By the contact with the Flemish environment G. develops a preference for landscape views … what shows in an increasing enrichment of his compositions by wide and light backgrounds – as then also here on the right up to the village ensemble obliged to Netherlandish models – which are inspired by north alpine models, drawings, and prints. The depiction of the landscape gradually receives a greater autonomy in G.’s œuvre (Salsi, 1991) ”

(Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon LIII [2007], 84).

This artistic taking however stood opposite to a just so giving as may be proved for instance by the great Vredeman de Vries:

“ Cock … published a version of Raphael’s School of Athens etched by Ghisi. The latter himself had worked under Giulio Romano at the pictorial furnishing of the Mantua palace del Te. The sheet has great importance for Vredeman’s Scenographiae which he … prepared in Mechelen from 1550 to 1560. Since Ghisi lived in Antwerp up to 1554 a direct contact between him and Vredeman is very probable. It  would  especially  explain  the  Italian  motifs  with  Vredeman , e. g. the foreshortening of the column dome as Giulio Romano had executed it in the Sala dei Giganti of the del Te palace after models by Andrea Mantegna. Ghisi was, of course, not an ornament engraver, but he may have informed Vredeman also on the classical grotesqueries and their interpretation by Giovanni da Udine and others …

A considerable influence on Vredeman had Raphael’s painting The School of Athens from the Vatican Stanzes. Hieronymus Cock published the composition in 1550 in the engraving of the Raphael pupil Giorgio Ghisi … The print caused then great attention in the Netherlands. Vredeman used it as model for some paintings as well as for several sketches of his Scenographiae published by Cock in 1560 ”

(Heiner Borggrefe in Hans Vredeman de Vries und die Renaissance im Norden, Catalog of the exhibition in Brake und Antwerp, Munich 2002, pp. 16 & 136).

niemeyer’s — where the unusual is at home

Beside Raphael’s School Cock still published three further works by Ghisi “which as reproduction of works of important Italian painters were fundamental for the propagation of the Roman manierism in the Netherlands” (AKL).

The above 1555/56 stay in France was followed “with certainty” by a further one between 1558 + 1559 and “In Dec. 1562 G. still is documented in Paris (letter to the [Gonzaga] Duke of Mantua; Bellini, 1998)” for whose family he becomes officially active from 1576 on. He is regarded as

“ the  most  qualified  of  the  Mantua  engravers ”

(Albertina, Kunst der Graphik, III, 1966), “continues the technique of Marcanton and tries to give it a strong plasticity and a colored, metallic brightness by a special care of the work and greater smoothness of the lines” (Kristeller in Thieme-Becker XIII, 563 f.). In contemporary impressions including the Duchetti state here his present sheet is

exceptionally  rare

and in such a perfect preservation up to the still even fine paper margin all around as present here to be found with difficulty at best.

While copies of the previous states I+II cannot be traced here on the market for the last decades the sheet generally was missing in the Ghisi sections Weigel (1838/57) and Davidsohn (1920/21; there just the Avibus copy as following, but without stating it openly by its name) just as well as other notable old master collections.

But even by competent side the likewise rare, reverse (that is spike in the left!) 1563 copy of Caspar Avibus (Gaspare Oselli ab Avibus, Cittadella c. 1536 – 1585?, provable last 1580) as additionally also even engraved by Luca Penni (!, so German Hunting Museum, cat. no. 5976/page 222 with ills. page 166) is taken as the original! Its immediate following on Ghisi additionally suggesting the quite interesting economical conclusion that supply and demand were unbalanced.

Yet  here  and  now

Ghisi-Orion  sheer . As  unmistakable .

Offer no. 15,222 / price on application

“ I am curious as to the history of this (original Ridinger printing) plate (I just bought) and the others you have offered. Did you purchase them from the Ridinger estate (indirectly, indeed) or a private collector? These are truly rare one of a kind pieces ”

(Mr. L. A. F., October 28, 2003)