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1721 Copper Engraving Portrait Pope Gregory XIV Roman Catholic Church EUM1

1721 Copper Engraving Portrait Pope Gregory XIV Roman Catholic Church EUM1

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This is an original 1721 black and white copper engraving of "Gregorius XIV. Pont. Max.,' better known as Pope Gregory XIV. Born Niccol˜ Sfondrati, Pope Gregory XIV served as Pontiff from 5 December 1590 until his death in 1591. His pontificate was highlighted by vigorous intervention in favor of the Catholic party in the French Wars of Religion, which were initiated when the king of Spain and the duke of Mayenne encouraged Gregory XIV to excommunicate Henry IV of France, emphasizing the 1585 declaration of Pope Sixtus V that Henry of Navarre was a heretic because he was Protestant and thus ineligible to succeed to the throne of Catholic France. Gregory XIV is also noted for modifying the Apostolic Constitution Effraenatam of Pope Sixtus V, applying the penalty of excommunication for abortion only after the fetus had become animated. The portrait is framed by a wonderful decorative motif featuring filigreed designs and a stylized skull with wings at the bottom of the print.


This 290+ year old Item is rated Near Mint / Very Fine. Light foxing and aging. No creases. No natural defects.No surface rub.No tears. No water damage. Please note: There is a plate impression bordering the image in this print and there is light offsetting from the facing page on the accompanying text print.

  • Product Type: Original Copper Engraving; Black / White
  • Grade: Near Mint / Very Fine
  • Dimensions: Approximately 8 x 13.5 inches; 20 x 34 cm
  • Authentication: Serial-Numbered Certificate of Authenticity w/ Full Provenance
  • Protection: Packaged in a custom archival sleeve with an acid-free black board (great for display, gift-giving, and preservation)

Period Paper is pleased to offer an extremely rare and impressive early eighteenth century collection of biographies and portrait engravings and etchings, produced in Leipzig, Germany in 1721 and 1722. Included are notable monarchs, rulers, religious figures, and members of notable Houses throughout Europe, including several genealogical charts of dynastic lines, spanning the sixteenth to early eighteenth centuries. The collection is comprised of exquisitely engraved and etched copper portrait plates framed by varying decorative motifs, all engraved by Johann Friedrich Rosbach. Many of the portraits include separate biographical pieces ranging in length from a single paragraph to several pages for more notable European monarchs and emperors. If present, the accompanying text is in German and is composed of beautiful woodcut text, with most pages containing elegantly etched drop cap initials, head-and tail-pieces and vignettes. The superb, folio-sized stock upon which the collection is engraved and etched employed the latest advances in eighteenth century paper making and highlights the era's predilection for strong, lightly sized paper with a fine structure and smooth surface. The paper's characteristics are thus similar to Japanese Gampi, and the result is well-preserved and crisp images that exceptionally capture Rosbach's fluid and sharp line work. This collection represents a unique opportunity to collect a valuable part of European history stunningly composed and illustrated.

Keywords specific to this image: Art, Religion, Catholic Church