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Bernhard Vogel

(1683 Nuremberg – 1737 Augsburg)

Young Man with a Violin. Mezzotint after Johann Kupezky. 35.5 x 25.6 cm. 1736. Not in Nagler.

This delightful mezzotint is a repetition of the painting by the Bohemian artist, Johann Kupezky (1666–1740), which is now in the Szépmûvészeti Múzeum (Museum of Fine Arts) in Budapest (inventory number 54.238). The portrait of a Young Man with a Violin probably arose in Venice around 1706 and was still in Kupezky’s possession thirty years later when Bernhard Vogel made his mezzotint – an indication of the special significance it had for Kupezky. So far it has proved impossible to identify the young violinist beyond any doubt. It could be the musician, Gottfried Danhauer (or Donauer), who was staying in Venice at the time the painting was made. In the past it was thought the painting might be an allegory of music or hearing (see Eduard A. Safarik, Johann Kupezky, p. 93; Thieme-Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler, vol. XXXIV, p. 476). Bernhard Vogel, an engraver who worked alternately in Augsburg and Nuremberg, frequently sought inspiration in Kupezky’s paintings. There are eighty-one medium-sized mezzotints after works by the painter, mostly portraits but also religious and allegorical scenes. As is the case in the present print, Vogel usually added short verses by ancient authors such as Virgil or Ovid to these works. The quotation here is from Ars Poetica by Horace (Poscit opem chorus et praesentia numina sentit / “The choir calls for help and senses the presence of the gods”). Vogel’s mezzotints, which are still considered to be amongst the best of their time, were esteemed by his contemporaries for their superb technical and artistic quality. A very fine, velvety impres­sion with thread margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in perfect condition. From an unknown collection “W“ (Lugt 3852).

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