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Homere Poete Greco / Vero Ritratto / Cavato del Natural (Bust-length portrait of Homer). Etching. 15.1 x 12.3 cm. Inventaire du Fonds Français 133.
David has wilfully depicted the illustrious Greek poet as a blind beggar in contemporary costume. A fine, dense network of crosshatching is used to good effect to bring out the details of the phy siognomy and clothing. A ray of light coming from the top right illuminates Homer’s blind right eye and his open, toothless mouth, while the rest of his face, twisted into a bitter grimace, remains in darkness. Such a profane portrayal of the Greek poet was entirely in keeping with the spirit of Caravaggism prevailing at the time. The legend points out smugly that the portrait is that of a real person and was drawn from life. The draughtsman and engraver Jérome David lived and worked in Paris until about 1623, when he moved to Rome, where he was active till ca. 1670 as the author of mainly religious reproductive prints after works by Guercino, Guido Reni, Camillo Procaccini and other masters.
A very fine, sharp and contrasting impression with margins around the partly inky platemark. Minimal foxing, an unobtrusive printer’s crease, otherwise in perfect condition.