Sunday, 26 June 2016

Castiglione from the series “Small Oriental Heads“


Giovanni Benedtto Castiglione (1616–1670)
from the series “Small Oriental Heads“
“Head in profile to right with two feathers in hat”, c1645/50
Etching on very fine (almost transparent) laid paper trimmed on, or within, the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 10.9 x 8.1 cm.
Inscribed with the artist’s etched signature (upper right) “GB Castilione Genovese”
Bellini 1982 24; Bartsch XXI.28.33
See also the description of this print at the British Museum:

Condition: slightly grey impression (suggesting a later edition—perhaps McCreery’s 1816 edition) in near pristine condition. There is the remnant of a mounting hinge (verso).

I am selling this small and precious etching by Castiglione—the artist claimed to have made the first monotype—for AU$125 in total (currently US$92.58/EUR83.96/GBP69.05 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this fine vignette portrait by an old master, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


There are so many purported “facts” about Castiglione that are so interesting to address. Indeed, the facts are so tantalising that they make finding where to start in a brief discussion about him hard to navigate. So … rather than be level-headed I will simply layout a few of these facts for those interested in the genius of Castiglione to engage with.

Purported fact Number 1: Castiglione invented the monotype process (i.e. “A single print taken from a design created in oil paint or printing ink on glass or metal.” Oxford Dictionary)

Purported fact Number 2: Castiglione “discovered” Rembrandt and “is the first artist in Italy known to have borrowed directly from the Dutch master” (Timothy J Standring & Martin Clayton, 2013, “Castiglione: Lost Genius”, Royal Collection Trust, p. 43)

Purported fact Number 3: He threw his sister off a rooftop. (Standring & Clayton, 2013)

Purported fact Number 4: Accused his brother of being a thief and an assassin and sent him to jail. (Standring & Clayton, 2013)

Purported fact Number 5: Almost killed his nephew with relentless punches. (Standring & Clayton, 2013)

Purported fact Number 6: The “most innovative and technically accomplished Italian draughtsman of his time” and “one of the most original artists of the entire seventeenth century.” (Standring & Clayton, 2013)

Purported fact Number 7: Castiglione “pioneered the development of the oil sketch” (Wikipedia).



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