Tuesday, 22 November 2016
A nineteenth century engraving after Raphael’s grisaille panel, “Charity”
Henry Del ei (Note: this engraver is unknown to me and the cursive script showing his signature is ambiguous and my reading of it may be incorrect)
“La Charité” after Raphael, c.1804–13 (the attribution of this date is based on when the publisher was resident at his St Denis address and the death of Le Brun) and, published by Jacques Louis Bance (Bance aîné) (1761–1847) in Jean-Baptiste Pierre Le Brun’s (1748–1813) “Galerie des peintres flamands, hollandais et allemands, ouvrage enrichi de deux cent une planches gravées d'après les meilleurs tableaux de ces maîtres, par les plus habiles artistes de France, de Hollande et d'Allemagne [...].” This print is almost a mirror image of John Romney’s (1786 - 1863) engraving of the same subject executed in reverse in 1821 (see a copy of this print at the British Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3441750&partId=1&searchText=raphael+charity&page=1)
Stipple and line engraving with watercolour on wove paper trimmed close to the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 23.4 x 19.2 cm; (plate) 22.4 x 18.5 cm
Inscribed below the circular image borderline: (lower left) “Raphael Inv.”; (lower centre) “LA CHARITÉ.”; (lower right) “Henry Del ei [?] Sc.”
Inscribed below the rectangular image borderline: “à Paris chez Bance ainé, Md. d'Estampes, rue St. Denis.”
Condition: crisp impression with finely worked watercolour washes. The sheet has very small patches of restoration addressing minor abrasions that are now almost invisible; otherwise the sheet is in good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, stains, folds or foxing).
I am selling this graphic translation of Raphael’s famous grisaille predella panel in the Pinacoteca Vaticana, for a total cost of AU$86 (currently US$63.50/EUR59.79/GBP50.84 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you wish to purchase this very beautiful (but small) print, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold
Raphael’s painting, “Charity”, executed in 1507, that this engraving reproduces is the middle tondo (i.e. a round composition) painted in grisaille (i.e. a painting executed in different tones of grey) on a wood panel that was originally a part of a three-panel predella for the Baglione family’s altar in Perugia. Today these three panels may be found in the Vatican collection. What is interesting when engravers copy such artworks is that if they were to simply reproduce the image that they see onto the printing plate the image would be in reverse—a mirror image—of the original when the plate is printed. This is certainly the case here. Sadly, when the image is reversed the original composition is disrupted. For example, the children held by the woman I see as sliding off her lap, whereas in the original painting the same children appear to be climbing onto her lap.
More disturbing for me is that the lighting changes with the reversal of the image. Instead of the top-front-left angle of lighting of Raphael’s painting which encourages the eye to see form as three-dimensional resulting from the Occidental reading pattern from left to right, the lighting from the right in the engraving makes the figures' forms seem flimsy.
Fortunately, John Romney’s variation on this print addresses these shortfalls (see the URL link posted earlier regarding Romney’s print).