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Francesco Novelli

(1767–1836, Venice)

St. Mark Writing. Etching. 9 x 7.8 cm. Not in Nagler, Heller-Andresen and Le Blanc.

Francesco Novelli was the son and pupil of the Venetian painter, Pietro Antonio Novelli (1729–1804). He worked as a painter and also made his way as a versatile and gifted printmaker. Our delicate etching, which was unknown to Nagler and Le Blanc, reproduces a painting by his father. This painting is now in the collection of the Museo Correr in Venice. Novelli represented the patron saint of the Serenissima on several occasions; a number of preparatory drawings are kept in the Museum of Kassel and in the Uffizi in Florence. The version now in the Museo Correr was executed for the printmaker Marco Pitteri but, as Novelli writes in his autobiography, Doge Marco Foscarini liked the painting so much that he kept it in his private rooms for several days. As Foscarini was only doge between 1762 and 1763, the painting in question can be dated precisely. Our etching was done by Francesco at a later moment, however. Despite the modest format, the soft, velvety chiaroscuro and the refined painterly execution sensitively reproduce the artistic merits of the father’s original.

A splendid, contrasting impression, printed on the full sheet. Minor ageing, otherwise in impeccable condition. Rare in this printing quality and mint state of conservation. Rare.

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