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Pietro Francesco Menarola

(1665–1700, Bassano del Grappa)

John the Baptist in the Wilderness. Etching after Jacopo Bassano. 20.8 x 27.6 cm. After 1684. Unrecorded.

Pietro Francesco Menarola belonged to a family of painters and engravers from Bassano, where he worked as an engraver and etcher. Le Blanc and Nagler list four works by the artist, all after Jacopo Bassano, but they make no mention of the present expressive etching. The painting by Bassano that Menarola reproduces in this print is now in the Museo Civico di Bassano (inv. no. 19).

Menarola employs a rich chiaroscuro to transfer the painting’s vivid play of colours to the print and makes astute use of various types of hatching to inject additional momentum into the composition. The dedication to Giovanni Battista Rubini, the Bishop of Vicenza, dates the painting to after 1684, the year of his inauguration. A superb impression, partly with burr traces, trimmed to within the platemark on the right and left, with thread margins at the top and bottom. Minor staining and ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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