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Monogrammist CER

(Georges Reverdy, active in Lyon between 1529 and 1565)

Eight Children Dancing to the Music of a Bagpipe. Engraving. 10.4 x 31.5 cm. 1570. B. XV, 485, 38; Nagler, Die Monogrammisten I, 2508, p. 1038; Inventaire du Fonds Français (Graveurs du 16ième siècle), vol. II, 35.

The biography of Georges Reverdy has given cause for confusion since the time of Adam von Bartsch. It was Bartsch who questioned the attribution of a group of engravings with the monogram CER to an Italian engraver called Gasparo Reverdino who probably hailed from Padua. Nagler also ruled out any Italian origin and was the first to draw attention to the artist’s activity in the circle of the masters of the School of Fontainebleau. According to Henry Bouchot, who published the first biography of Reverdy in 1901, the artist was born in Doubs near Lyon («Le prétendu graveur italien Gasparo Reverdino (Georges Reverdy)», Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 26, August–September 1901, 1902, 229). The catalogue of the Inventaire du Fonds Français compiled by Jean Adhémar in 1938 lists a total of 69 items, including several series of illustrations. It is generally considered now that Reverdy was active as an engraver and book illustrator in Lyon in the years 1529–1561. It is possible that the artist may have worked a few years in Italy around 1530.

A catalogue raisonné of his oeuvre has not been produced to this day, however. In view of the great stylistic divergences it is more than unlikely that all the engravings listed by Bartsch are from the hand of one and the same master. Several of the works he describes are deeply influenced by Bonasone’s printed work and probably date to the 1530–40s in Rome.

The present delightful little print is executed in a crude, almost primitive engraving technique which relies on a limited repertoire of cross- and parallel-hatching, yet it is precisely the modest nature of the means employed which lends the work its peculiar charm. The engraving was probably published posthumously by Antonio Lafreri.

A superb impression printed with much burr and beautiful platetone, with even margins around the platemark. Minimal aging, otherwise in excellent condition.

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