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Giovanni Fattori

(1825 Livorno – 1908 Florence)

Vedetta di Cavalleria (Two Cavalrymen on Guard Duty). Etching on zinc, printed in brown ink on light copperplate printing paper. 23.9 x 17.2 cm. Baboni-Malesci CL; Petrucci 150.

This impressive and atmospherically dense etching belongs to Fattori’s late period and demonstrates his proficiency as an etcher. Giovanni Fattori was an unsurpassed master in the rendering of light and atmosphere, and in the 1880s he developed a completely independent and novel formal idiom. He frequently used zinc plates to achieve a rich tonal effect. The soft metal, which facilitates a more spontaneous, freer drawing style, is thus an ideal medium for a wide range of painterly and atmospheric effects. The editions are smaller than with copper plates, though.

Fattori gives the everyday motif an impressive monumentality and grandeur. The dark silhouette of the two riders stands out starkly against the bare, wintry trees, which form a subtle and intricate graphic surface pattern. The whole scene radiates earnestness and an astonishing tranquillity. Riders, animals and nature are rendered in linework of great delicacy. A superb, rich impression with full margins. Minor handling marks, otherwise in excellent condition.

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