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Girolamo Fagiuoli

(active in Bologna and Rome, died 1574 in Bologna)

Anchora Inparo. Engraving. 41.6 x 29.9 cm. 1538. Bartsch XIV, p. 302, 400; TIB (Commentary) 27 (14), Part 2, pp. 93, 400 (302). Watermark: Crossbow in Circle (Woodward 207 ff., Rom 1557).

This curious picture shows an old man with a long beard who is moving forward with difficulty in a child’s walking frame, while an hour glass shows how little time is left to him. In 16th century Italy the cryptic heading Anchora Inparo (“I am still learning”) was a popular motto that is illustrated here with satirical intent. A similar idea is expressed by the inscription in the lower margin that goes back to Seneca: “Keep learning as long as you live, from boyhood to old age” (Epistulae, 76.2).

Adam von Bartsch attributed the invention of this rare engraving to Baccio Bandinelli and named Agostino Veneziano as the possible author of the print. Just recently, however, Suzanne Boorsch has convincingly given this print to Girolamo Fagiuoli, who made several engravings for the Roman publisher Antonio Salamanca between 1535 and 1538 and was praised by Vasari as an engraver and stamp-cutter. The print was probably done after a drawing by Domenico Giuntalodi. The plain and disciplined engraving technique, which displays a preference for parallel lines and simple cross-hatching, is characteristic of Fagiuoli’s formal language (see Suzanne Boorsch, “Salviati and Prints: The Question of Fagiuoli”, in: Francesco Salviati et la Bella Maniera, Rome 2001, pp. 499–518).

A superb, sharp impression, printed with delicate tone. With even margins around the platemark. Minor ageing and staining, otherwise in perfect, untreated condition.

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