Flemish Mask Designs in the Grotesque Style (1555)

A selection of stunning mask designs from the hand of Flemish engraver Frans Huys, rooted in the "grotesque" style and composed of shapes inspired from creaturely and vegetative forms (forming a style that would later become known as "auricular"). Huys apparently based these prints on original designs by the sculptor and architect Cornelis Floris (1514-1575), who is credited with inventing this particular Flemish version of the grotesque style in about 1541. The prints come from a set published in 1555 by Hans Liefrinck (about 1518-1573), an important Antwerp publisher and print-seller. The volume - bearing the full title of "Pourtraicture ingenieuse de plusieurs façons de masques, forts utile aulx painctres, orseures, taillieurs de pierres, voirriers, & tailleurs d'images" - is thought to have contained at least 18 images and, as the title suggests, seems to have been intended as a kind of sourcebook for craftsmen and artists looking for inspiration/templates.

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