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Christian Bernhard Rode

(1725–1797, Berlin)

Agrippina Lands in Brindisi with the Ashes of Germanicus. Etching. 25 x 56.5 cm. 1774. Nagler 124.

This large etching is a reproduction of a history painting Rode made in 1774 for Ewald Friedrich von Hertzberg (1725–1795), a diplomat and Prussian minister of state. The richly detailed scene, inspired by the third book of the Roman historian, Publius Cornelius Tacitus, shows Agrippina bearing the mortal remains of Germanicus as she sets foot on Italian soil in Brindisi. A painter of historical scenes, Rode was alone among Antoine Pesne’s students in continuing his master’s legacy in Berlin. This brisk composition with its plethora of figures and wealth of anecdotal detail is very characteristic of the artist’s style. A certain naïveté in his drawing is counterbalanced by his keen eye for light and atmosphere. Rode’s free, painterly etching style was greatly influenced by 17th century Italian models such as Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione. A very fine, contrasting impression with subtle tonal values and even thread margins. From the collection of L. A. de Vries (not in Lugt).

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