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Giuseppe Diamantini

(1621–1705, Fossombrone)

Fortuna. Etching. 20.7 x 14.6 cm. B. 7; The Illustrated Bartsch, vol. 47 (Commentary Part 3) .007. 30; Calabi 35. Watermark: Crown adorned with a star.

Although he came from Fossombrone in the Marche, Giuseppe Diamantini was one of the leading etchers in Venice in the second half of the Seicento. Having trained in Bologna, where he was apprenticed to Giovanni Andrea Sirani and was greatly influenced by Simone Cantarini, Diamantini settled in Venice around 1662 and spent almost the whole of his life there as a painter and etcher. 

He produced a quite extensive printed oeuvre, the outstanding features of which are his impetuous, spontaneous style and the atmospheric, painterly effect he achieves. Many of his prints appeared in very small editions, which explains the rarity of the present etching. Diamantini’s artistic signature is highly individual and easily recognisable. In all probability the artist dispensed with any preliminary drawings and etched his compositions straight onto the plate; the linework is correspondingly brisk and uninhibited with the emphasis more on tonal effect than abundant detail. The fascination of Fortuna derives from the spontaneity and impulsiveness of the linework and from its sketch-like character. This extremely rare little sheet radiates an almost timeless modernity. As is frequently the case in Diamantini’s work, the iconography is somewhat enigmatic and indeterminate. Is the figure of Fortuna hovering in the clouds a harbinger of good fortune or rather a goddess of fate? The underlying restlessness of the image, the agitated pose of the goddess and her contorted facial expression make her seem more like a capricious determiner of human destinies. 

A superb, contrasting and tonal impression with thread margins around the inky platemark. From the collections of Sir Joshua Reynolds (Lugt 2364) and Hans Freiherr von und zu Aufsess (Lugt 2749).

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