Thursday, 20 April 2017

Jacques Callot’s etching, “The Ponte Vecchio in Florence”, c.1621


Jacques Callot (1592– 1635)
“The Ponte Vecchio in Florence”, c.1621, from the series of fifty plates, “Capricci di varie figure di Iacopo Callot—The Nancy set”

Etching on fine laid paper with margins lined onto a conservator’s support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 10.3 x 12.8 cm; (plate) 6 x 8.4 cm; (image borderline) 5.5 x 8 cm
Meaume 1860 781.I (Meaume, Édouard 1860, “Recherches sur la vie et les ouvrages de Jacques Callot”, 2 volumes, Paris); Lieure 1927 434.I (Lieure, J, 1927. “Jacques Callot”, 3 vols, Paris, Editions de la Gazette des Beaux-Arts)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Side view of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, with men bathing in the river; reclining nude figure in the foreground, on the left c.1621 Etching”

Condition: crisp impression from a slightly worn plate (?) with a printer’s mark on the lower left edge, generous margins (approx. 2 cm). The very fine sheet of laid paper is in excellent condition and lined onto a conservator’s support of washi paper.

I am selling this VERY small etching, with all the careful attention to making swelling lines that made Callot famous, for AU$210 (currently US$157.90/EUR146.90/GBP123.29 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this small miracle of etching, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


Interestingly, there are two marginally different versions of this very small plate that are both executed by Callot: c.1617 and c.1621. This impression is from the later (c.1621) version and a copy of the earlier (c.1617) version is available to be seen at the British Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1556566&partId=1&searchText=callot+ponte+vecchio&people=130293&page=1.

Although the differences between the two plates may seem at a cursory glance somewhat trivial (for instance there is more detail to be seen in the distance shown under the arch of the bridge in the first version and the dark toning of the sky is more refined/less bumpy in the second version) the changes that Callot made do affect the meaning expressed. From my standpoint, the c.1617 version presents the view of the bridge—the Ponte Vecchio—as a closely observed representation of its structure with an earthy show of naked chaps frolicking in the water below it. By contrast, the c.1621 version shown here, presents the scene bathed in light and air. The chaps are still "doing their thing" in the Arno, but the mood is no longer about the everyday world of the here and now. What I see expressed is a more sublime and spiritual feeling of quiet liberation captured by the reclining nude on the lower left corner.




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