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Jacopo Amigoni

(1675 Venice – 1752 Madrid)

Madonna with Child. Etching. 17.9 x 13.7 cm. Bartsch 1; Le Blanc 1; Heller-Andresen 2; Meyer, Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon, I, 633, 3 I (of II) ; The Illustrated Bartsch, 47, Part 3 (Commentary), p. 152, 001, I (of II).

The painter Jacopo Amigoni, a productive and characteristic representative of the Venetian Rococo, spent a lengthy part of his active career away from his native city, staying in Bavaria and England. After moving to London in 1729, Amigoni won high esteem there as a decoration and portrait painter. Later stages of his restless career took him to Paris and Madrid, where he was appointed court painter to Ferdinand IV in 1747 only to die a few years later.

While the number of reproductive engravings after Amigoni’s inventions is very extensive, the artist only produced a very few prints of his own. Bartsch described a total of three prints, with later authors expanding the œuvre to seven prints in all. The commented volume of the Illustrated Bartsch records a total of eleven etchings done by the artist himself as well as four prints whose authorship is questionable.

The Madonna with Child is executed in a simple, yet effective etching technique, which produces soft painterly transitions. The subject owes its captivating quality to its gracefulness and an almost puristic spareness of approach. Using a relatively limited repertoire of cross-hatchings, short parallel lines and stippling Amigoni has given depth and roundness to the bodies and draperies. The soft forms of the child’s body have been carefully modelled with fine stippling. A dense network of lines makes up the neutral background, which directs the viewer’s whole attention to the youthful Madonna and the loving gesture with which she holds the hand of the sleeping child.

A very fine, tonal and delicate early impression with thread margins around the platemark. Before the name of Maratta. The etching is rare. The Illustrated Bartsch records a total of five impressions in Berlin, London, Reggio Emilia and Vienna. Minor ageing, otherwise in very good condition.

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