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Michel Dorigny

(probably 1616 Saint-Quentin – 1665 Paris)

Bacchanalia. Three etchings. Each approx. 24.5 x 30.5. Inventaire du fonds français: Graveurs du XVIIe siècle, vol. 3, pp. 476–477, nos. 14, 16, 17; RobertDumesnil, vol. IV, pp. 254–256, no. 14 I (of II), 16 I, 17 before I.

After training for five years under Georges Lallemand in Paris, Michel Dorigny soon joined the circle around the painter, Simon Vouet, with whom he struck up a close and lasting friendship. Dorigny subsequently became one of the main printmaking interpreters of Vouet’s painted oeuvre and was also involved as a painter in several of the master’s artistic projects. His prints include works on religious and mythological themes as well as individual prints and series on Dionysian topics.

It is to this latter category that six etchings belong which Dorigny produced together with Nicolas Chaperon and other artists for the series entitled Recueil de diverses Bacchanales (Robert-Dumesnil, vol. IV, p. 254, nos. 12–17). All the prints in the series contain the addresses of the respective publishers but not the names of the designers and engravers, which makes it difficult to definitively ascribe the works to specific artists. The prints were probably first issued by the publishers François Langlois, known as ‘il Ciartres’ (1589 Chartres – 1647 Paris), and Philippe Huart (active around 1639–1648) and were followed by a second edition published by Pierre Mariette. The designs for the etchings may well stem from Nicolas Chaperon or from Dorigny himself.

Three of Dorigny’s extremely rare works are on offer here, all of them in the first state with the addresses of François Langlois and Philippe Huart respectively. The depiction of a group of Bacchants cavorting in front of a stele was known to Robert-Dumesnil from just one impression bearing Mariette’s address (R.-D. 17). Given that our impression contains the early address of Ciartres, it can be assumed that it is an earlier, undescribed state. Very fine, crisp and tonal impressions with thread margins. Minor ageing, previously mounted in window passe-partouts, otherwise in excellent condition.

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