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Saturday 9 July 2016

Charles Jacque's etching, “Buveurs”

Charles Jacque (aka Charles Émile Jacque) (1813–94)
“Buveurs” [Drinkers], 1853, printed by Auguste Delâtre (1822–1907) (Note that the date that I have ascribed to this print is based upon the year [1853] that the printer, Delâtre, resided at the address inscribedn the plate.)
Etching on chine-collé on thick wove paper
Size: (sheet) 15.2 x 14.1 cm; (plate) 9.2 x 9.5 cm
Inscribed in the plate (lower left) “1”; (lower centre) “Imp Aug Delâtre Rue de la Bucherie 6” with the artist’s signature (lower-right), 9.1 x 9.4 cm (plate); 15.1 x 14.2 cm (sheet)
Condition: richly inked and crisp impression with margins in pristine condition.

I am selling this darkly glowing print with strong theatrical lighting that would make even Caravaggio proud for $148 AUD (currently US$111.95/EUR101.45/GBP86.51 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this original Jacque etching referencing the old masters, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

At first glance, I suspect that many viewers see overtones of Caravaggio in this fine etching by Jacque—disregarding for the moment that Caravaggio never made an etching or print of any kind and, as there are no extant Caravaggio drawings, he may never have drawn at all! Certainly, I see a strong connection. What makes me see a link between this scene of three folk drinking and Caravaggio’s mature style of painting is all about the use of theatrical lighting which artists who like Italian terms call “chiaroscuro.”

After the initial spike of recognition about the similarities of lighting employed by these artists, closer examination shows that the lighting effect used by Jacque is not the same as that used by Caravaggio. Jacque’s approach to chiaroscuro lighting is about enclosing the scene with darkness as a contained field of view wherein the viewer is somewhat conceptually excluded, whereas Caravaggio’s approach is about expanding the field of view beyond the scene portrayed and perhaps even into the viewer’s space.

In short, unlike Jacque's theatrical arrangement of light and shade, Caravaggio’s use of chiaroscuro is to invite the viewer into the pictorial depths of his scenes by use of visual devices such as foreshortened arms and similar features that reach towards the viewer and lighting that creates pathways encouraging the view to feel a part of what is presented.

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