Details



domenico zenoi
(active in Venice between 1560 and 1580)

Francis I of France Drives Out the Personifications of the Vices and of Ignorance and Enters the Temple of Immortality. Engraving after Rosso Fiorentino. 30 x 40.3 cm. Robert-Dumesnil VIII, 25, 16; Nagler 15; Herbet III, 35; Renouvier 3, 3. Watermark: Shield with unicorn (Woodward 228, Rome, 1575).

The composition has its origins in a drawing done by Rosso Fiorentino in 1535 or 1536, which is now lost but recorded in an engraving by René Boyvin. The present work reproduces Boyvin’s version but with modification to a number of details; a text margin with a grotesque head and verses in Italian have been added to the composition. There is also a third version produced by Antonio Fantuzzi (B. XVI, 393, 13).

Gathered outside a round temple, which the French monarch is about to enter, is a disorderly throng of blindfolded figures either balancing on clouds in chaotic despair or stooped in grief. The allegorical figures personify vices. Panofsky identified the stocky man with a stick as Ignorance, surrounded by Lust, Despair and Pride. The other figures defy any precise iconographical interpretation, see Dora and Erwin Panofsky, „The Iconography of the Galerie François Ier at Fontainebleau“, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 6th series 52 (September 1958), pp. 119–120. Biographical details of the painter and engraver Domenico Zenoi, who was active in Venice around 1560 to 1580, are sketchy. However, the publishing firm he set up did a thriving business in the city during this period.

A brilliant, sharp and contrasting early impression with wide margins (approx. 43 to 70 mm) around the platemark. Before the change of the address to „Zenoi formis“. Minor ageing, otherwise in impeccable, untreated condition. A very beautiful and excellently preserved print of museum quality.