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“La rivière navigable” (River Landscape with Two Sailing Ships). Etching. 22.7 x 28.8 cm. Not in Bartsch; Meaume (Callot) 1381.
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The etcher Ercole Bazicaluva, also called Fiorentino, was taught by Giulio Parigi in Florence and was a fellow student of Jacques Callot, by whom he was greatly influenced. He produced a small body of etchings, typical of which are an unpolished, down-to-earth technique and a pronounced decorative effect. The present riverside scene was unknown to Bartsch. The etching is exceedingly rare and forms part of a set of two riverscapes first catalogued by Edouard Meaume. While this first print was signed by Bazicaluva, its companion piece was the work of an anonymous artist. The landscape has been sketched in brisk and expert fashion. A sturdy oak tree serves as a repoussoir in the right foreground; the sparse figurative staffage has an enlivening effect. The two barges with their sails struck are taken from prototypes by Jacques Callot and Stefano della Bella. This dependence notwithstanding, the riverside scene radiates a pleasant, decorative charm.
A very fine, tonal impression with margins. Minor ageing, traces of previous mounting at the corners, otherwise in excellent condition.