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Conrad Martin Metz

(1749 Bonn – 1827 Rome)

Scherzi di Amorini / Tritoni, / ed altri Capricci cavati / dalli Arabeschi /nel / Vaticano. Title page, 9 stipple etchings on laid paper. 45.7 x 31.6 cm (sheet size). 1809. Not in Nagler.

Conrad Martin Metz, who hailed from Bonn, was initially trained in his native town as a painter but, being colour-blind, he subsequently decided to concentrate on drawing and engraving instead. He therefore moved to London, where he was intro­duced to printmaking by none other than Francesco Bartolozzi. Metz spent twenty years in the British capital, making a name for himself as a versatile reproductive engraver.

From 1801 the artist lived and worked in Rome, where he successfully continued his work as an engraver. Metz’ extensive printed oeuvre consists almost entirely of reproductive engravings based on works by Italian Renaissance masters. Amongst his outstanding achievements in this field is a faithful graphical reproduction, comprising fifteen large-folio sheets, of Michel­angelo’s Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.

This rare series, made in Rome in 1809, is based on decorative paintings in the Vatican and was evidently unknown to Nagler. The mellifluousness of the treatment and the flowing line work show Metz to be an assiduous student of Bartolozzi. His sophisticated stippling technique creates soft transitions and convincingly reproduces the chubby, child-like bodies of the playful putti. The cheerful scenes radiate an elegance and lightness reminiscent of Anton Raphael Mengs.

Very fine, harmonious impressions with full margins. Scattered foxing and staining, slight handling traces, otherwise in very fine condition.

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