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Joseph François Parrocel

(1704 Avignon – 1781 Paris)

Les Charmes de la Musique. Etching. 14.6 x 20.5 cm. 1770. Baudicour 3 I (of II).

The painter and etcher, Joseph François Parrocel, was the second eldest son of Pierre Parrocel and studied under his father. To continue his training Joseph went to Rome, where his presence is documented in 1736. After his return the artist lived and worked in Paris, where he was admitted to the Académie royale as a history painter in 1759. Interestingly, Parrocel lived next door to Diderot, with whom he was on close terms. Par­rocel produced a small etched oeuvre comprising eight sheets in all. The present etching, which Baudicour describes as “charmante eau-forte d’une pointe spirituelle et pleine d’effet”, is considered his main work.

Graceful and rare, The Enchantment of Music is executed in a light, vibrant style and is a printmaking gem. A young woman plays the lute in the open air while an admirer listens reverently to her. A violin lies at her feet and a putto blows assiduously on a flute. The whole radiates a cheerful light-heartedness that is still fully in keeping with the spirit of the Rococo. A very fine, harmonious early impression, before the further reworking of the plate, for example in the lower right-hand part of the picture, and before the enhancing of the signature. With even margins around the distinct platemark. Minor traces of handling, otherwise in perfect condition.

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