Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Agostino Carracci’s engraving, “The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine”, after Paolo Veronese


Agostino Carracci (1557–1602)
“The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine”, 1585, after Paolo Veronese (aka Paolo Caliari]) (1528–88).
Engraving on fine laid paper with “Crowned Arms” watermark, trimmed unevenly to the image borderline.
State III (of VI) with the signature, but before the editor’s address.
Size: (sheet) 29.4 x 21.5 cm
Bartsch 39.97-II (of II); Bartsch Comm. 126 S3 (of 6); Bohlin 133; Calvesi/Casale 118; Ostrow 34

Diane DeGrazia Bohlin (1979) in “Prints and Related Drawings by the Carracci Family: a Catalogue Raisonné” notes that the verso of the extant plate has the engraving for “Various Studies”, Bohlin cat. no. 134. Bohlin also offers the following interesting insights about the engraved marks shown on the verso of the printing plate:
“The print, known only in impressions from the Calcografia Nazionale in Rome, is indicative of the artist’s working method; he tried the burin on the plate and made various studies before doing a complete design on the other side of the plate. The practice was common during the period and can also be seen in Annibale’s prints (Annibale, cat. nos 5-10) when the plates are extant. (p. 234)


The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Mystic Marriage of St Catherine; the Virgin seated on a throne holding the infant Christ on her knee and about to place a ring on the finger of St Catherine, kneeling to right; to left three angels playing musical instruments. 1585” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1458716&partId=1&searchText=Agostino+Carracci+Catherine+&page=1)

Condition: Excellent and rare lifetime impression, trimmed unevenly at the image borderline and in marvellous condition for its considerable age. The sheet has been recently washed in water (without additional chemicals) and has been laid onto conservator’s support sheet.

I am selling this old master print of the highest quality from the Renaissance era for a total cost of AU$435 (currently US$330.02/EUR306.42/GBP260.69 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this small masterpiece, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


St Catherine of Siena became a martyr considerably before Paolo Veronese painted his famous painting in 1547 of her marriage to the Lord, “The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine,” that  Agostino Carracci translated into this print in 1585. After all, the saint is reputed to have died in around 1380, but the clothes portrayed in the image are such an odd mix of period styles that something is not quite right. 

I asked my cook to assist me by offering insights into the fashion industry in the 14th and 16th centuries so that I could piece together the anachronisms. To be fair, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to be told, but I was hoping for things like: the differences in how garments were hemmed or variations in the weight of fabrics used in the two eras. Sadly, I was left dangling with my interesting questions still floating in the air when the cook simply walked away without answering.

Mindful that I am unable to offer a meaningful discussion about the curious anomalies of fashion styles shown here, I can only propose that Veronese and Carracci also had indifferent cooks advising them about Sienese fashions at the time of St Catherine.





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