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michele greco
(or Grecchi, called Lucchese, active between 1534 and 1564 in Rome)

Two Friezes with Cherubs. Two engravings each circa 9.7 x 33.5. Unrecorded.

The name of the painter, engraver and publisher Michele Greco appears for the first time in 1534 in the catalogue of the Accademia di S. Luca in Rome. In 1551 he is recorded as a painter. Greco mainly did reproductive engravings after prominent artists of his time, such as Raphael, Michelangelo, Polidoro da Caravaggio and Bandinelli. For this reason alone his prints have considerable documentary value. Greco’s printed oeuvre, produced between 1547 and 1564, is missing from Adam von Bartsch’s Peintre- Graveur and his prints are generally rare. These two spirited, lighthearted friezes rendered all’antica were also unknown to Nagler and Passavant, for example. The artist has enthusiastically portrayed the bustling and boisterous activities of the exuberant cherubs. A lively procession bears a naked boy upon an antique litter, while his retinue makes a joyful noise with trumpet, flute, cymbals and drums. The pendant shows cherubs busily engaged in bearing sacrificial offerings to an altar that is crowned by a triple mount. A little faun with a melancholy look on its face plays on the Pan pipes. The lively, multi-figure compositions are executed in a confident and versatile manner. Greco’s concentrated engraving technique, which is powerful in its simplicity, emphasizes the contours of the bodies and creates fine chiaroscuro transitions.

Superb, strong and rich impressions with thread margins around the platemark. In perfect condition.