1722 Copper Engraving Cardinal Bishop Melchior Klesel Holy Roman Empire EUM5


This is an original 1722 black and white copper engraving of "Melchior Klesel," also known as Melchior Khlesl, or Melchior Cleselius, an Austrian statesman, Cardinal of the Roman Catholic church during the Counter-Reformation, and Bishop of Vienna. Impressed with his early campaigns against Protestantism, Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, entrusted him with the work of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Klesel would late head the the Privy Council of Holy Roman Emperor Matthias. The portrait is surrounded by a wonderful decorative motif featuring botanical borders and a crowned shield above an angel at the bottom of the print. This piece is accompanied by the original German biographical text printed on two separate sheets featuring a decorative drop cap, vignette and head-and tail-pieces.


This 289+ year old Item is rated Near Mint / Very Fine+. 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, Catholicism, Habsburg Empire, Habsburg Dynasty, Habsburg, Monarchy, Austrian Empire, Thirty Years' War, Catholic Counter Reformation, Protestantism, Cathedral of St. Stephen's