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Lorenzo Loli

(1612–1691, Bologna)

The Madonna with Sleeping Child. Etching after Guido Reni. 16.5 x 15 cm. B. XVIII, 314.2 (as school of Reni); B. XIX, 246.1 (as Tinti); TIB.40 [18], 314.2 (as school of Reni).

The painter and etcher, Lorenzo Loli, was taught by Guido Reni and Andrea Sirani. Several of his altarpieces and paintings on religious themes have been preserved in his native city of Bologna. Loli was a typical representative of Emilian Baroque painting and one of the best Bolognese painter-etchers of the Seicento. The present portrayal of the resting Madonna with the Christ child asleep on her arm is based on a composition by Guido Reni. There are several depictions showing the Madonna in a very similar pose with her head resting on her hand together with the infant Jesus. Bartsch attributed just one of these to Lorenzo Loli, assigning the rest more generally to the school of Guido Reni. Bartsch records the present impression a second time and attributes it to Sirani’s pupil, Lorenzo Tinti, although this appears less plausible in view of the visible similarities with other of Loli’s compositions. The British Museum in London lists all the prints that are absolutely comparable in stylistic terms with an attribution to Loli. We encounter the characteristic position of the sleeping child’s head and the inclusion of a background curtain once again in a very similar form in Loli’s portrayal of a sleeping Cupid (B. 20). The present rare print has been treated in a fluent, accurate manner which produces soft, painterly transitions and creates an atmospheric chiaroscuro. A very fine, contrasting and inky impression, trimmed to just short of the platemark, traces of thread margins around the same at the bottom right. Minimal traces of handling, otherwise in excellent condition.

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