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The Old Tower. Lithograph with greenish-grey tint stone. 40.7 x 31.1 cm. (1820). Schwarz, Die Anfänge der Lithographie in Österreich, 155, 1 I (of II).
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The architectural and ornamental painter and lithographer, Antonio de Pian, received his artistic training in Venice and Vienna, and his early work shows the influence of Canaletto’s architectural capriccios. In 1821 he was appointed court theatrical painter in the Austrian capital. His printed oeuvre, numbering fifteen lithographs in all, arose mainly in the years 1820– 21; it betrays de Pian’s training as a stage designer and his marked feeling for dramatic and effective set-pieces. Entirely in keeping with the prevailing taste of his period, the stylistic principle of the “picturesque” plays a pre-eminent role in de Pian’s iconography and illustrates the Romantic yearning for past epochs. A tall, crumbling mediaeval tower dominates the composition. In the foreground a small barge glides over the motionless surface of the water, in which the sky and the buildings are perfectly reflected. The atmosphere is one of silent reverie, which lends the composition an almost metaphysical quality that profoundly expresses the Romantic ethos.
A superb, delicate and nuanced early impression with full margins; before the proofs with blue and pink tint stones. In perfect condition.