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Nicolas Cochin

(1610 Troyes – after 1649 Paris)

Adoration of the Magi. Etching. 24.6 x 33.6 cm. Inventaire du Fonds Français 157. Watermark: Escutcheon.

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). This ambitious, keenly observed figure composition unfolds in a setting of ornate staffage. Roman soldiers on horseback and an elegant oak tree in the left foreground serve as a repoussoir. The numerous little staffage figures are characterised in a very individual and detailed manner. Cochin is a consummate etcher and a virtuoso of stage biting. While the foreground is very deeply etched, producing sharply defined individual details and a dazzling chiaroscuro effect, the very expressive, enchanted ancient ruin in the middle ground and the decorative vegetation in the background are velvety soft and full of atmosphere. An early impression of matchless quality: crisp, contrasting and printed with great clarity right down to the tiniest details. With even margins. In mint condition.

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