LUCAS VAN LEYDEN Leiden 1494 - 1533 Leiden
Engraving; 1523. New Hollstein 157 a/b. A fine impression with one or two very slight scratches as in the slightly later ‘b’ impressions, but printed sharply and with considerable clarity. In good condition with thread margins all around.
Lucas produced three such subjects from daily life, The Surgeon (New Hollstein 156) and The Musicians (New Hollstein 155), all in similar format. In each the protagonists are peasants or artisans. In our engraving the patient shows his discomfort, and at the same time his purse is being picked by the young woman behind him.
The Dentist must have been enormously popular; New Hollstein records nine copies, which meant, judging from the languages in which the various inscriptions were written – French, German and Italian – that the image must circulated throughout Western Europe from the mid 16th century. This success notwithstanding, the engraving is now rather rare. The circulation of the image, in fact, must have meant that over time many originals were damaged and very likely discarded or relegated to the trash heaps of printed images, in popular scrapbooks and the like where the curious pasted down whatever interesting sheets came to hand.
117 x 75 mm 4 ½ x 3 inches
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