|Artist||Richard Earlom after David Teniers the Younger|
|Published||[John Boydell, London, 1786]|
|Dimensions||Image 450 x 650 mm, Plate 490 x 680 mm, Sheet 512 x 722 mm|
A pristine proof impression before letters of Earlom's very rare separately published mezzotint of the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, after the painting 'The Rich Man Being Led to Hell' by David Teniers the Younger. The scene ultimately derives from the Gospel of Luke (16.19-31), in which Jesus relates the story of a wealthy man who spurned the beggar Lazarus. When both men die, Lazarus is taken to heaven by the Angels, but the rich man descends to Hell. Teniers' painting vividly shows the torments of the rich man, referred to as 'Dives,' which rather than an actual name is simply the Latin Vulgate word for 'rich man.' At centre, Dives stands in his 'purple and fine linen,' his hands clasped in supplication and his face set in a look of resignation, rather than fear, worry, or misery. Around him, beasts and devils of the most grotesque form and shape are gathered - a perverse inversion of the angelic host that acted as Lazarus' retinue. The demons, combining human, reptilian, avian, piscine, and bat-like forms, are clearly influenced by Teniers' Dutch and Flemish forebears, particularly Hieronymous Bosch and his his wife's grandfather, Pieter Bruegel. The painting from which the mezzotint derives was purchased by Sir Robert Peel in 1784, and now resides in the National Gallery. Earlom's mezzotint, a triumphant example of his masterly use of chiaroscuro, adds an element of classicism to Teniers original biblical composition with the insertion of the three-headed Cerberus in the bottom left corner. The terrifying guardian of Hell's gate strains at his chains towards the new arrival, while a wizened attendant waves a long tattered broom at a school of flying demonic sprites headed towards the flames of the Inferno beyond.
Richard Earlom (1743 - 1822) was a British painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He was born in London, and was apprenticed to Giovanni Battista Cipriani after he was discovered making sketches of the Lord Mayor's coach. This natural faculty for art manifested throughout Earlom's career, and he is believed to have taught himself the technique of mezzotint. In 1765, Earlom went to work for John Boydell, who commissioned the artist to produce a large series of works from Sir Robert Walpole's collection at Houghton Hall. This pair of mezzotints constituted part of this series. His works after van Huysum, as well as the still-life painter Jan van Os, are widely recognised as his most striking.
David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) was a Flemish painter, engraver, art curator, and draughtsman, widely regarded as the finest Flemish genre painter of his era. The third son of a painter of altarpieces and cabinet scenes, Teniers frequently supported his family by making copies of works by fellow Dutch and Flemish Old Masters. He became court painter to Archduke Leopold Wilhelm, and also married the granddaughter of Pieter Bruegel. A prolific painter, he produced numerous landscapes, still lifes, and portraits, though he is best known for his genre scenes, particularly peasant scenes, alchemical and medical scenes, and 'merry company' paintings.
Condition: Fine dark proof impression before letters. Minor ink-marking to inscription space and margins. Minor time-toning to margins, not affecting plate. Framed in a period style frame.