Saturday, 4 March 2017

Orazio Borgianni’s etching, “Adam and Eve Eating the Forbidden Fruit”, 1615


Orazio Borgianni (aka Orazio Borgiani) (c.1578–1616)
“Adam and Eve Eating the Forbidden Fruit”, 1615, plate 6 from the series of 52 plates after Raphael’s Loggia Paintings (titled by the British Museum as “Raphael Bible, after Raphael”).
Etching on fine laid paper trimmed to the image borderline
Size: (sheet) 14 x 17.2 cm
Inscribed on the right side with monogram and date, “1615”
Bartsch XVII.316.6; TIB 38 (17).6 (316) (p. 365)


Condition: well-inked and crisp impression trimmed to the image borderline. The sheet is in a virtually faultless condition.

I am selling this seemingly spontaneously drawn etching based on the design of the legendary Raphael (1483–1520) who had passed away only 95 years before this print was created, for AU$257 (currently US$198.08/EUR183.96/GBP158.83 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this rare Renaissance period print of Adam and Eve, 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


There is a certain attribute that is somewhat unforgettable about the prints by Borgianni and that is the date: “1615.” All of Borgianni’s prints were executed in this year (or close to it). I would like to add that this was also the year that he died, but, as he died inconveniently on January 15 the following year, this would be untrue. If only all artists could fit their lifetime of printmaking into a single year like Borgianni, historical research would be so easy.

Beyond Borgianni’s commitment to printmaking in his final year(s) there are a few notable qualities to his prints that I find very interesting.

The first quality that I admire is his confidence and unapologetic use of the etching needle to draw directly on the plate without preliminary drawing. The evidence of this practice is clear; for instance, note the pentimenti (i.e. drawing on top of faulty underdrawing where the underdrawing shows through) in the corrections to the drawing of Eve’s back and the revised drawing of Adam’s extended right leg. To my eyes, this directness is the sign of a great master who doesn’t feel compelled hide revisions. Essentially such work seems genuine, honest and intimate.

The second quality that fascinates me is Borgianni’s use of a crudely portrayed three-dimensional framing edge on all but four of his prints. This “fake frame” involves a narrow (.5cm) border that is shaded to suggest the direction that light "falls" on the image drawn within the border. Borgianni may have simply reproduced what he observed when drawing the architectural elements painted in Raphael’s frescos in the Vatican loggias (i.e. corridors in the Apostolic Palace), but his decision to include the framing edges in his prints is very deliberate and the edges help to give pictorial depth to his images.





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