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Giovanni Cornacchia

(1804 San Seccondo Parmense – 1846 Parma)

Half-length Portrait of the Engraver Luigi Celli Cremo­nese. Etching and burin. 23 x 17.7 cm. Circa 1829.

The author of this fine artist’s portrait, the Emilian engraver Giovanni Cornacchia, was trained at the influential school for engravers founded by Paolo Toschi in Parma in 1819. Toschi was later made director of the city’s art academy and in this capacity was directly involved in the planning of public build­ings such as theatres and town palaces. Cornacchia’s portrait shows his young fellow student, Luigi Celli, who enrolled at Toschi’s school of engraving in 1828 and died young in Septem­ber 1829. The inscription extols the artistic merits of the young man whose promising career was brought to an abrupt end.

The portrait, the glorifying nature of which was fully in accord with the tastes of the time, is executed in a very concentrated and disciplined style which skilfully combines the advantages of the burin and etching techniques. The young man with the bushy, flowing hair and distinctive, even features is looking pensively into the distance as if already removed from the real world. See A. Mavilla, “Lo studio Toschi e i suoi artisti”, in exhibition catalogue Maria Luigia. Donna e sovrana. Parma 1992, p. 114. A very fine, harmonious impression with the full paper margins. Slight handling traces, otherwise in mint condition. Rare.

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