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Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione

(1616 Genoa – 1670 Mantua)

Young Man with Feather Beret, Looking to the Right. Etching. 10.9 x 8.3 cm. Ca. 1645–50. Bartsch 35; The Illustrated Bartsch 46, Commentary, 35 I (of II). Watermark: countermark Six-pointed star.

This small, delicate and atmospheric etching belongs to the so-called Set of Small Oriental Heads, which the artist began in Genoa in the years 1645–50 and completed in Rome. In this cycle Castiglione shows himself deeply influenced by contemporary Dutch printmaking. The source of inspiration may have been comparable etchings with character heads (tronies) which frequently occur from the 1630s on in the printed work of Rembrandt and Jan Lievens. Castiglione’s etching technique possesses a lightness and refinement which resemble Rembrandt’s example very closely. The present proof is a rare early impression of particular beauty. The light hatching at the upper margin, which disappears in the second state due to wear of the plate, covers the image with a fine network. The letter C of the artist’s name, which is no longer legible in the second state, is clearly recognizable.

A superb, nuanced and tonal impression print with large margins around the inky platemark. In impeccable condition.

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