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Old Masters, Engelbrecht, Jousting, Antique Print, Germany, 18th Century


Martin Engelbrecht (1684-1756) (artist and engraver)
Justi praeludia belli/ Le Tournoi, Plate 10
[Rehearsal for War/ The Tournament]

Augsburg: 2nd Quarter 18th Century
Hand-colored engraving with stippling
13.25 x 18.75 inches, overall
11.5 x 7.5 inches, plate mark

An elegantly dressed nobleman in a gold-trimmed coat, hat with a large plume, and long powdered wig points out a jousting tournament to a young boy, presumably his son, who is carrying a lance. In the background, the tournament is under way in front of an audience on foot and on horseback, including three riders playing trumpets. Statues on pedestals representing enemy combatants stand in the playing field, including one of a bare-chested tribal man in a skirt and feather headdress carrying a bow. In the foreground, a rider takes aim at a statue with a lance, while behind him another rider shoots the head off a statue with a rifle. A verse in French in the lower margin declares that emperors and kings loved to watch such tournaments, and suggests that the contestants were more motivated by impressing the ladies in the audience than they were by winning prizes.

Product description continues below.


Martin Engelbrecht and his brother Christian were printsellers and engravers in Augsburg, Germany. Martin engraved some plates after Rugendas and other masters. His other works included illustrations for Ovid’s Metamorphoses, The War of Spanish Succession, and P. Decker’s Les Architectes Princiers, as well as other views, including 92 views of Venice. In about 1730, he created cards for miniature theaters depicting religious scenes or genre pictures of daily life that created a dimensional scene in one-point perspective when inserted into a peep box. Notably, he composed and etched a series of prints of workers and their dress, Assemblage Nouveau Des Manouvries Habilles, published at Augsburg, circa 1730. Some of his etchings of tradespeople and sportsmen are documentary or tell a story, with explanatory text or poems. Others are anthropomorphic inasmuch as the tradespeople are dressed by cleverly assembling respective trade objects that resemble clothing. Numerous examples of these are offered by George Glazer Gallery.

Publication credits: Cum Pr. S. C. Maj. Numbered 10, upper right margin.

Verse on bottom:

Le Tournoi.
Ces Jeux jadis aimés des Empereurs, les Rois,
Se faisoient admirer sous d’équitables Loix,
Comme sous les beaux Yeux des plus charmantes Dames:
Les nobles Champions par le Prix animés,
Moins que par les Regards de ces rares Beautés,
En hazardant les Corps gagnoient alors leur Ames.

[Rough translation:

The Tournament.
These games once beloved by the emperors, the kings,
Were admired under equitable rules,
As well as under the beautiful eyes of the most charming ladies:
The noble champions less motivated by the prize,
Than by the gazes of these rare beauties,
By risking their bodies they won their souls.]

Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified with the usual remaining light overall toning and wear.


Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 3, p. 582.

McNiff, Megan. “Early Home Entertainment: Engelbrecht’s Miniature Theaters.” Houghton Library Blog, Harvard University. 14 August 2015. (19 June 2018).

Williamson, George C., ed. Bryan’s Dictionary of Painters and Engravers. London: G. Bell and Sons: 1930. Vol. 2, pp. 128-129.

Additional information


18th Century