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1600 Strasbourg – 1641 Vienna


Capricci di varie battaglie - 1635


Set of 13 etchings (out of 15) from the series ‘Capricci di varie battaglie par Gio Guglielmo Baur’ . Size of sheet: c. 10.9 x 14.3 cm.


Hollstein (German) 24; Bonnefoit 1997 (R 71); Rapetti, 1998, cat.37.


Provenance: Sir Edward Astley (Lugt 2774); Norwegian Private Collection, his sale at Chiswick Auctions, London, 19/10/22, lot 63.


Condition: Excellent impressions with thread margins around platemark.


Comparative impressions: The BM – inv. 1854,1020.98; National Gallery of Art – inv.1945.5.25.



Johan Wilhelm Baur: Capricci di Varie Battaglie, 1635

  • Following his series of 1633, Battles of different peoples, Baur develops this theme a second time in the Capricci di varie battaglie, which he dedicates, to the Duke of Bracciano, Paolo Giordano II Orsini. The series includes fourteen battle scenes. The frontispiece does not bear a written dedication, but Orsini’s Coat of Arms: at the top left, on the standard of the bugler on horseback and, on two other standards at the top right, the emblem of the Orsini family, the rose and the bear which also appear in the coat of arms.

    The concept of capriccio was used in the field of music since the 16th century. By making use of this concept, the artist wants to signify that these battle scenes do not in any way contain documentary value or historical authenticity, but that they respond to the pure pleasure of the theme and the different possibilities of composition. Baur's etchings are imbued with a baroque dynamic and pathos, which are based on other models, in particular on Rubens’ interpretation of Leonardo da Vinci’s Battle of Anghiari (now is in the Louvre).


  • Rodolphe Rapetti et al., Johann Wilhelm Baur 1607-1642. Maniérisme et baroque en Europe, 1998.

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