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A Wooded Landscape with the Sermon of St. John the Baptist. Etching. 25.7 x 32.3 cm. Inventaire du Fonds Français 21.
Nicolas Cochin was born in Troyes as the son of the glass painter Noël Cochin, who probably trained him, although next to nothing is known of the artist’s early years. About 1640 Nicolas moved with his younger half-brother Noël to Paris, where he became an extremely productive and successful etcher. The date of the artist’s death is uncertain. According to Corrard de Bréban, Cochin lived until 1686, although the last documented reference to him dates from 1649 (see A. H. F. Corrard de Bréban, Les graveurs troyens, Troyes-Paris, 1868).
Cochin’s etching art owes a great deal to his role model, Jacques Callot. Jean de Saint-Perès, a contemporary of Cochin’s, even asserted that Callot had selected Nicolas as his legitimate artistic successor. Cochin was also influenced by the etchings of Stefano della Bella, who was active in Paris between 1639 and 1650 and whose compositions he often re-interpreted. Cochin’s printed oeuvre is very extensive. Most of the prints are inscribed merely with the name Cochin and the initial “N”, which makes it hard to distinguish them from those of his half-brother. Only thirty-five etchings, including the present one, bear the full name of the artist. This fine etching demonstrates Cochin’s ability to integrate a multi-figure composition harmoniously into a landscape. Although Callot’s etching The Sermon of St. Ammon (Lieure 406) was probably the model for this composition, Cochin’s style is more intricate and attaches more importance to anecdotal detail. His etching technique is very sophisticated and refined, conjuring up a velvety chiaroscuro. A characteristic feature of his style is the highly decorative rendering of the luxuriant foliage.
A superb, richly varied early impression with fine, vivid plate tone; with wide margins. Minor foxing and yellowing, otherwise in excellent, unrestored condition.