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Girolamo Scarsello

(born in Bologna, active until c. 1670)

Cupid with Bow and Arrow, Standing on a Dolphin. Etching. 19.2 x 14.3 cm. Bartsch 4.

Our knowledge of Girolamo Scarsello’s life is very fragmentary. He was a pupil of Francesco Gessi and worked as a painter and etcher in Bologna, Milan and Turin. Scarsello’s printed work comprises just six etchings, which according to Bartsch are “exé­cu­tées d’une pointe légère et assez spirituelle” (Le Peintre-Graveur, XIX, p. 249). In the past, some of Scarsello’s prints were taken for works by Giovanni Andrea Sirani, to whom he was stylistically very close and who also provided the model for the present etching.

Scarsello was a by no means untalented little master who developed his skills by imitating and adapting the art of Sirani and Guido Reni. His Cupid with Bow and Arrow, executed in a very light, transparent etching technique, is certainly one of the artist’s most successful efforts. A system of dense cross-hatching, fine parallel lines and stippling creates gentle tonal gradations and lends an ethereal atmosphere to the intimate scene. In refined works like this the etcher Girolamo Scarsello shows himself very close to his great contemporary Elisabetta Sirani.

A superb and sharp impression, printed with considerable tone, with small margins around the inky platemark. In mint condition. From the Conte G. Archinto Collection, Milan (Lugt 52).

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