Details



luigi sabatelli
(1772 Florence – 1850 Milan)

The Vision of Daniel (I had a vision in the night, and, behold, the four winds of the heavens blew upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, each one different.) Etching. 45.7 x 64.5 cm. 1809. Not in Nagler, Le Blanc, or Heller-Andresen; Luigi Sabatelli: Disegni e Incisioni, Uffizi, Florenz 1978, Nr. 61.

The painter and etcher Luigi Sabatelli is one of the leading representatives of Neoclassicism in Italy. After studying the arts in his native town of Florence, Sabatelli went on to work in Rome between 1789 and 1794; here he became acquainted with Neoclassicism. He was especially inspired by Jacques-Louis David and practiced a pure version of his style similar to that of David’s pupil François-Xavier Fabre. In 1795 Sabatelli returned to Florence. Under the influence of Antoine-Jean Gros and the colorism of Rubens and Venetian painting of the Cinquecento, Sabatelli developed a more lively, painterly stylistic language in which the transition from Neoclassicism to Romanticism is evident. The idea of the Sublime, which plays a major part in the work of contemporary English artists such as Flaxman and Runciman, has also become important to Sabatelli’s work. His eclectic choice of themes from the Bible, legends, antique mythology, and Greek and Roman history is a characteristic phenomenon of the art of his time.

The artist’s masterly depiction of Daniel’s vision is a typical example of this new Romantic attitude. In a remarkably individual, expressive scenario Sabatelli illustrates the vision of the Old Testament prophet (Daniel, chapter 7, 1–28), in which four apocalyptic beasts emerge from the sea. Sabatelli closely follows the biblical text in his detailed rendering of the fantastic and terrifying creatures. His skilful and highly developed etching technique allows him to describe the extraordinary scene with maximum drama. Curved parallel lines and crosshatching of varying densities, stipple dots and short strokes connect to a dense graphic pattern that establishes astonishing tonal effects.

A superb, contrasting, and even impression with margins around the platemark. Slight handling traces, otherwise perfect.