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Marco Alvise Pitteri

(1702–1786, Venice)

Profile Portrait of a Boy Holding a Lemon Aloft. Engraving after Giovanni Battista Piazzetta. 44 x 34,6 cm. Nagler 50; Ravà 264. Watermark: FC, Bromberg 29.

This charming sheet reproduces a little painting Piazzetta made around 1740 which is currently in the collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. Piazzetta dealt with the same subject – a boy and a girl in front view holding up a fruit to the viewer – in two chalk studies that are now in the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin (inv. no. 5874) and the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York (Mariuz, 1982, p. 132, D 19) respectively. The present engraving, made by Pitteri between 1755 and 1760, shows the artist at the height of his powers. The brilliant engraving technique with its varied and highly refined lineament is stunningly effective in reproducing the expressive chiaroscuro of Piazzetta’s design. A superb, nuanced and fine-grained impression with full margins. Slight traces of handling, a small repaired tear in the right-hand margin, otherwise in excellent condition.

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