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Angelo Falconetto

(circa 1507 probably Rovereto – 1567 Verona)

Sirens, Naiads and Tritons. Etching. 22.9 x 31 cm. B. 17; The Illustrated Bartsch, vol. 44 (20), 305, 17.

This very decorative, Mannerist-style print is based on a draw­ing attributed to Parmigianino. Falconetto’s etched signature is visible in the bottom left-hand corner. In the past the artist’s very small printed oeuvre was erroneously associated with the Neapolitan painter, Anielle Falcone. There is now no doubt that Angelo Falconetto, a painter and engraver active in Verona, is the author of these works. Similar to the prints of his contemporary, Andrea Meldolla, those made by Falconetto and recorded in Bartsch reveal a somewhat primitive, rough etching style, the outstanding attribute of which are its expressiveness and narrative momentum. Like Meldolla, Falconetto uses a drypoint to accentuate contours and make occasional corrections.

The present etching is extremely rare. The fantastic, animated sea creatures form an arabesque of great visual appeal. The elegant female rear-view figure on the right, in particular, fully matches the Mannerist ideal of beauty. The earlier assumption, which cannot be deemed certain, that the artist hailed from Emilia is a plausible explanation for the closeness of his work to the art of Parmigianino, whose creations served as models for several of Falconetto’s etchings. A good, even impression, trimmed to the platemark. The characteristic, somewhat dry printing quality of the impression also reminds of Meldolla etchings and heightens its earthy expressiveness. As compared to the impression in the British Museum, in which a part of the image is missing at the top and the bottom, the present impres­sion is fully intact. Minor defects and slight ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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