Johann Michael Püchler the Younger: Micrography in Print

(Fig. 1) Johann Michael Püchler, Portrait of Martin Luther (ca. 1680–1702), engraving, 95 x 267 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Buried in a volume that functioned as both an album amicorum and a collection album amassed by the Swiss politician Hans Wilpert Zoller (1673–1757) is an engraving by the early 18th-century artist Johann Michael Püchler the Younger1 (Fig. 1). When the album was catalogued for sale in 2006, nearly all its 54 drawings and 3 prints were identified, but despite being published as Püchler by Robert Zijlma in 1992, the engraved portrait of Martin Luther was misattributed to the even lesser known Dutch artist Johannes Georgius Otto.2 Although Püchler and Zoller were contemporaries, and Zoller had traveled extensively in the region where Püchler was active, it is possible that even Zoller did not know the attribution of the unsigned work. Nonetheless, its elaborate engraving demonstrates a command of calligraphy and ornamental forms that is characteristic of Püchler’s portrait style, which invariably includes flowing lines of micrographic text.

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  1. The Zoller album was purchased in 2007 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2007.223). []
  2. Robert Zijlma, Hollstein’s German Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts 1400-1700, vol. 33: Michael Pregel to Johann Reisenleither, edited by Tilman Falk (Roosdaal: Koninklijke Van Poll, 1992), 69, no. 21. Püchler created six variants of the Luther portrait; see Hollstein, vol. 33, 66-70, nos. 17-22. For the sales catalogue, see Erhard Linse with C. Herren, Graphik und Bücher aus verschiedenen Sammlungen, 22–29 November 2006 (Bern: Auktionshaus Stuker), lot 9060, no. 48. []