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Rámon Bayeu y Subías

(1746 Zaragoza – 1793 Aranjuez)

Doubting Thomas. Etching. 19.9 x 29 cm. Páez 230.13. Watermark: Letters.

Ramon Bayeu was taught by his more famous brother Francisco (1734–1785), whom he followed to Madrid. From 1765 he designed cartoons for the Royal Tapestry Manufactory under the watchful eye of his brother, whom he assisted in the execution of several cycles of frescoes. Ramon is mostly known today for his etchings, which he made at a moment when the medium of printmaking flourished in Madrid.

Doubting Thomas is based on a painting made by Guercino in 1621 which is now in the National Gallery in London (oil on canvas, 110.3 x 142.2 cm, inv. no. 3216). The impression on offer here is an unrecorded trial proof before the insertion of the artist’s names in the lower margin and before the intensification of some of the hatching, which the artist evidently undertook later, especially in the shaded areas. Etchings by Bayeu are very scarce, but the present proof impression really is a rare gem of museum quality.The scene has been executed in a gentle, flowing and delicate etching technique which reveals inter alia the influence of Giambattista Tiepolo and his sons, Giandomenico and Lorenzo, who had been active in Madrid since 1762. The lightness of the etching technique is also reminiscent of the early printed works of Goya, Francisco Bayeu y Subías’ brother-in-law. A fine early impression with margins around the distinct platemark. Minor staining, slight folds and creasing, two tiny holes in the margins on the left and below, other minor ageing, otherwise in very good condition.

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