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carlo lasinio
(1759 Treviso – 1838 Pisa)

Portrait of Arcangelo Resani. Colour engraving. 17.2 x 12.8 cm.

Carlo Lasinio was a disciple and friend of Édouard Gautier-Dagoty and, like his teacher, experimented with colour printing techniques. Lasinio taught for more than half a century as Professor of Engraving at the academy in Florence (1779–1835) while also being the Curator of the Camposanto in Pisa. In addition to creating an impressive number of reproductive prints, he busied himself with the printing of multiple coloured mezzotint plates, a sophisticated printmaking technique that had been developed in London circa 1720/30 by Jakob Christoph Le Blon on the basis of Newton’s theory of colour. This technique of multiple plate colour printing was subsequently refined by the members of the Gautier-Dagoty family.

The present portrait derives from Lasinio’s main work, Gli Autoritratti della Real Galleria di Firenze, published in 1789. It concerns a series of almost two hundred artists’ self-portraits in small quarto format, of which no complete example appears to have survived (see P. Cassinelli, Carlo Lasinio Incisioni, Florence 2004, p. 40 ff). This delightful portrait of the Roman painter and dilettante poet Arcangelo Resani (1670–1740) affords striking proof of Lasinio’s technical mastery. Le Blon’s technique was highly complex, involving three mezzotint plates, each of which had to be treated differently, depending on the colour and its intensity. The charm of the portrait lies in its harmonious choice of colours, which are limited to warm yellow ochre, mild red and cool blue and green tones, and in the soft transitions between the individual tonal values. The cool white lace of the shirt gleams effectively. The likeable profile of the billy goat at the foot of the picture is so true to life as to appear almost tangible.

A superb, luminous impression with full margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in perfect condition.