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Giovanni Battista D’Angolo

(known as Battista del Moro, circa 1515 Verona – circa 1573 Verona or Murano)

Attributed. Landscape with Moses Bearing the Tablets of the Law. Etching. 19.2 x 28.6 cm. Hollstein 10, Riggs 97.

In art historical terms this evocative, atmospheric landscape represents something of a curiosity. Timothy Allan Riggs erro­neously attributed the etching to the suite entitled Landscapes with Biblical and Mythological Scenes produced by Hie­ro­nymus Cock in 1558 after designs by his elder brother Matthijs; Hollstein also listed the print as part of this series. Both authors describe a total of fourteen prints, although present-day researchers assume that the series comprised no more than twelve etchings. Their conclusions are based on the inventory list drawn up in 1601 by Volcxken Diericx, Cock’s widow, which refers to “Twaalf coperen plaeten van Lant­schappen van Jhero­nimus Cock” (see J. van Grieken / G. Luij­ten / J. van der Stock, Hieronymus Cock. De renaissance in prent, exhibition catalogue, Brussels-Leuven-Paris 2013, pp. 344–347, no. 94).

The present very rare print is in fact a free repetition in reverse of Hieronymus Cock’s etching of 1551 entitled Landscape with Abraham’s Sacrifice (Riggs 37; Hollstein 1). The anonymous artist, who probably hailed from northern Italy, removed the sacrificial scene and replaced it with the figure of Moses bearing the tablets of the law – this being just one of the artistic liberties he took. God the Father up in the heavens takes the place of the guardian angel, for instance. The style of the etching is freer and more spontaneous than in Cock’s original version. The fluid linework with its deliberate painterly effect is reminiscent of the etchings of Giovanni Battista d’Angolo, whose artistic idiom occasionally reveals eclectic stylistic features to be found north of the Alps (see also the website of the Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam, object number RP-P-1885-A-9272).

A very fine impression with thread margins around the partly inky platemark, to which it is trimmed at the bottom. Slightly foxed, an unobtrusive smoothed drying fold, minor traces of handling, otherwise in very good condition.

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