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Charles Nicolas Cochin the Younger

(1715–1790, Paris)

Funeral Celebrations for the Dauphine Maria Theresa Rafaela, Infanta of Spain. Etching and burin. 50.1 x 33.3 cm. 1748. Inventaire du Fonds Français 204. Jombert 158. Watermark: Dupuy Fin / Auvergne 1742 (Heawood 3303).

The draughtsman, engraver and writer, Charles Nicolas Cochin the Younger, began his career by recording in drawings and prints the ceremonies that were held at the court of Louis XV. In some cases he made the drawings and etchings himself
while in other instances his father, Charles Nicolas Cochin the Elder, etched the plates after designs by his son, who came to fame at an early age. Between 1749 and 1751 Cochin travelled around Italy at the behest of his patron, Madame Pompadour, and subsequently published treatises on ancient and Italian art. Extensive book illustrations and portrait commissions along with other art historical writings formed part of the oeuvre of this talented and very busy artist. In 1751 he became the first and only person for whom admission formalities to the Academy were waived; he was also appointed to several positions at court and given an aristocratic title. 

Maria Theresa Rafaela of Spain, the wife of the Dauphin of France, Louis Ferdinand, died aged twenty shortly after giving birth to their first daughter and she was given a lavish funeral. The magnificent, temporary ceremonial architecture and splendid decorations devised by the Slodtz brothers transformed the nave of Notre Dame in Paris into a grandiose Rococo setting invigorated by numerous courtiers and various church dignitaries. Beneath the central canopy two allegorical female figures grieve over the Dauphine’s urn. According to Cochin’s memoirs (cited in IFF 203), contemporaries expressed criticism of the Slodtz brothers, who were responsible for the festive and profane character of the funeral arrangements despite the fact that they were in keeping with court taste. Cochin’s culturally and historically interesting etching – a graphic masterpiece with an abundance of narrative detail – is on offer here in a superb impression with wide margins around the distinct platemark.

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