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Giovanni David

(1743 Cabella Ligure – 1790 Genoa)

Allegory of Painting. Etching. 30.3 x 22.8 cm. Circa 1775. Grasso I 60 (before a and b).

The Allegory of Painting, rendered with verve and humour, dates from David’s Venetian period, which marked a high point in his artistic career. The inscription says that the female figure of Pittura, applauded by the minor genii, is about to achieve eternal fame. The personification of Pittura sits in a relaxed pose on an armchair in front of her easel, holding a brush ready in her right hand. She listens attentively to a small genius who points to the still empty canvas. In the foreground, putti prepare paints and the palette. The scene is set in a picturesque, enchanted pleasure garden. A breeze bends a cypress tree in the background. The originality and grace of the iconography are characteristic of Giovanni David. Everything breathes the lightness and ingenuity of the Venetian Rococo. A very fine, nuanced early impression with thread margins around the platemark, before the extension of the inscription in two different versions. Very rare.

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