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Giovanni Andrea Maglioli

(active in Rome or Naples before 1608)

A Triton Blowing on a Shell, Fantastic Sea Monster with Cherubs, and Two Fantasy Heads. Seven etchings. 4to. Nagler, Die Monogrammisten I, 899, 918; III, 1878; Berliner Ornamentstichkatalog 4350.

Little is known about the life and work of Giovanni Andrea Maglioli, which is somewhat surprising in view of the fact that Nagler had already drawn attention to the high artistic quality of his suite of sea creatures. In the 1939 Katalog der Ornamentstichsammlung der Staatlichen Kunstbibliothek Berlin Peter Jessen described a total of four series and several individual prints in Berlin’s possession, which also included a number of imitations, however. In fact, Maglioli’s inventions were frequently copied by different artists, such as Jan Theodoor de Bry, Adam Fuchs and Gabriel Weyer, indicating their great popularity. Apparently the order of the individual prints in the suites differed greatly, which makes it even more difficult to recognize the stylistical characteristics of the artist’s printed work.

These six prints, if we are to follow Jessen’s listing, probably come from different sets. Common to them all, however, is a free and delicate etching technique, which has an extremely picturesque effect. The two portrayals of grotesque heads, where four human and four animal heads form an elaborate symbiosis, is particularly inventive. The different textures of the waves and curls of the hair and beards, which in some cases are woven into decorative plaits, have been rendered by Maglioli in a varied manner and with evident gusto. The study of antique sculpture may have determined the formal canon of Maglioli’s style, just as the influence of the decorative schemes of Roman Mannerism is unmistakable.

Brilliant, rich impressions with full margins. Minor defects, otherwise in excellent condition.

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