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Charles David

(circa 1600–1636/38, Paris)

The Lute Player. Etching. 31.2 x 22.7 cm. Inventaire du Fonds Français 92.

The draughtsman and engraver, Charles David, was the son-in-law of the Flanders-born engraver and publisher, Pierre Firens, who made a career for himself in early 17th century Paris and was later appointed Graveur du Roy. His brother Jérôme (circa 1605 Paris – circa 1670 Rome) was also active as an engraver. Charles David worked mostly as a reproductive engraver, producing works after such varied artists from bygone eras as Frans Floris, Hendrick Goltzius and Jacopo Bassano as well as after designs by contemporaries like Philippe de Champaigne, Jacques Callot and Gerard van Honthorst. 

The present portrayal of an elegantly clad lute player is probably based on one of his own works, however. The six-line poem beneath the image refers to the amorous content of the subject matter. The work, which has been executed in a very detailed and refined etching technique, reveals the strong thematic influence of early 17th century Dutch genre painting. The player’s exquisite sartorial elegance is also characteristic of the period of Louis XIII in France. A very fine, nuanced impression with margins. Minimal foxing, minor ageing, otherwise in mint condition.

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