Mask from Libro di Variate mascare

After René Boyvin French
Master with the Name of Jesus Italian

Not on view

In 1555, the printmaker Frans Huys made a set of eighteen engravings of masks after designs by the sculptor Cornelis Floris, which were published in Antwerp by Hans I Liefrinck. A delirious amalgam of marine, plant, and human features, Floris’s grotesque masks illustrate the early modern fascination with the monstrous and possibly allude to Antwerp’s sea trade. They were inspired by art from ancient Rome as well as the artistic vocabulary developed by artists working at the French royal palace of Fontainebleau. The French influence is seen most clearly in the mask composed of architectural forms, including sculptural strapwork, cartouches, and scalloped niches.

Various copies were soon made after the series by Floris and Huys, demonstrating the popularity of such masks across Europe. This print belongs to an Italian set of twenty-four signed with the monogram IHS. In addition to copies after Floris, the set included six original designs. It was likely acquired by the French printmaker René Boyvin, who published the designs under his own name with a title page. Boyvin himself produced numerous prints inspired by the decorations at Fontainebleau for an expanding market of artists and collectors.

Mask from Libro di Variate mascare, After René Boyvin (French, Angers ca. 1525–1598 or 1625/6 Angers), Engraving

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