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Michel Dorigny

(probably 1616 Saint-Quentin – 1665 Paris)

Mary Magdalene Mourns the Dead Christ. Etching and engraving after Simon Vouet. 20.5 x 27.2 cm. Robert-Dumesnil 93; Inventaire du Fonds Français 93.

After training for five years under Georges Lallemand in Paris, Michel Dorigny soon joined the circle around the painter, Simon Vouet, with whom he developed 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.

This elegant print after Vouet depicts Mary Magdalene’s grief at the death of Christ in a very intimate scene imbued with religious intensity. The illumination and composition of the image lend visual emphasis to the separation between the dead saviour and his female follower, who lifts the shroud in a gesture of discreet affection. The inscription ends with the words: “I will follow you like a shadow”. Vouet made the painting for the Palais Royal, but it is now in an unknown collection in Paris (see Jacques Thuillier, Vouet, exhibition catalogue, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris 1990, p. 333). Dorigny uses a varied and consummate etching technique to produce a warm chiaroscuro and transfers Vouet’s elegant Baroque Classicism with great skill to the reproductive print medium. A very fine impression with wide margins.

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