(Hans) Sebald Beham
Etching: 3 x 4.25 inches (Frame 14 x 17 inches)
A detailed etching and line engraving by (Hans) Sebald Beham; published in Frankfurt in 1537. 1st state of 3.
In this extraordinary etching the Emperor Trajan has accidentally trampled the small child of a citizen. The mother, understandably distraught, remonstrates with Trajan and demands justice for her dead son. In a gesture of recompense and reconciliation Trajan offers up the life of his own son in exchange.
Sebald Beham (1500-1550) was an accomplished artist and engraver working in Germany in the first half of the Sixteenth Century. He originally worked in Nuremburg where he used the monogram HSP but moved to Frankfurt in the mid-1530s when he started identifying his prints with HSB. His output was prolific, and it is thought that he produced in excess of 1500 woodcuts and 252 engravings. As far as subject matter is concerned he specialised in religious, domestic, mythological and historical images, quite often with an erotic leaning. He worked in meticulous detail and many of his prints are no larger than a postage stamp. This factor gave him the reputation for being one of the leading "Little Masters" working alongside Albrecht Durer in the golden age of German printmaking.