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Damiano Pernati

(1769 Novara – 1841)

Half-length Figure of Hercules Seated. Etching after Luigi Sabatelli. 20.2 x 27.5. 1795. Cat. Luigi Sabatelli (1772–1850). Disegni e Incisioni, Florence 1978, no. 3065.

This highly expressive portrayal, which is remarkable for its restrained, purist linework, is from the series entitled Pensieri Diversi di Luigi Sabatelli incisi da Damiano Pernati published in Rome in 1795. The painter Luigi Sabatelli, one of the foremost representatives of neoclassicism in Italy, lived and worked between 1789 and 1794 in Rome, where he immersed himself in the new world of classical forms. Inspired primarily by David’s example, he favoured a strict, dogmatic interpretation of this style, as is apparent from the work of David’s student, François-Xavier Fabre, for example.

The artistic prestige of the young Sabatelli was evidently so great that this series of just over twenty etchings after his own pictorial inventions was published as early as 1795. The present portrait radiates virile strength and immense inner energy. Sabatelli achieves maximum expressiveness and a compelling presence with great economy of means. Damiano Pernati’s subtle and highly refined technique enables him to succinctly transfer Sabatelli’s world of forms to the realm of etching.

A fine, crisp impression with wide margins around the distinct platemark. Minor ageing and discoloration, otherwise in excellent condition. Rare.

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