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Pietro Betini

(active 2nd half 17th century in Bologna)

The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian. Etching and engraving. 55.5 x 34.2 cm. Circa 1648. B. XIX, p. 255, Meyer, Allgemeines Künstler-Lexicon III, 751, 2.

No precise details are known of the life of the Italian painter and etcher, Pietro Betini, who was probably active in Bologna in the late 17th century. Bartsch at least paid tribute to him by describing one of his prints in the Peintre-Graveur. Moreover, he also mentioned the present etching, although he never saw the original. The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, elaborately staged and full of Baroque verve, is based on a painting by Domenichino. The subject matter is treated in an intricate, varied etching technique which gives the dramatic scene considerable zest. The skilful use of the blank paper produces a soft chiaroscuro. In stylistic terms Betini’s working method is reminiscent of that of Bolognese painter-etchers such as Giovanni Battista Pasqualini, Giovanni Antonio Lorenzini and related reproductive engravers who reproduced paintings by Guercino and other leading Bolognese masters. The etching was issued by the publishing house of the engraver and publisher, François (Francesco) Collignon, who was active in Rome from 1646. His death in 1687 provides a terminus ante quem for the dating of the present large etching. A very fine, vibrant impression with thread margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in very good condition.

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