Friday, 4 August 2017

Nicolò Nelli engraving, “The Last Judgement”, 1576, after Michelangelo


Nicolò Nelli (fl.1552–79) or an unidentified engraver from the circle of Nicolò Nelli.
“The Last Judgement”, 1576, after Martino Rota (1520–83), after Michelangelo’s (1475–1564) fresco in the Sistine Chapel, published by Niccolò Nelli.

Note: FAMSF holds another version of this print published by Nelli, but in reverse; see: https://art.famsf.org/martino-rota/last-judgment-19633036438. The BM holds a copy of Rota’s print that this engraving is based; see: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3223685&partId=1&searchText=martin+rota+last+judgement&page=1

Engraving on laid paper trimmed close to the image borderline with thread margins and lined onto a conservator’s support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 26.2 x 18.9 cm

Condition: crisp impression trimmed to thread margins around the image borderline. The sheet is in good condition (i.e. there are no significant stains, tears, holes, folds, abrasions or foxing) and it has been laid upon a conservator’s support sheet.

I am selling this beautifully executed engraving of Michelangelo’s masterpiece for AU$370 (currently US$293.07/EUR247.68/GBP224.07 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this engraved translation of Michelangelo’s famous fresco executed only 35 years after Michelangelo finished work on the painting, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This is the third reproductive version of Michelangelo’s famous fresco that I have listed and it is probably the most sensitively executed of all the prints.

What may be slightly baffling are the discrepancies in these copies of the same painting and this leads me to point out that there would be very few—if any—early printmakers who physically sat in front of the paintings and sculptures that they reproduced. Instead, the practice at the time was to rely on drawings upon which they modelled their prints. As can be imagined, a mixture of inaccuracies in the drawn copy and the creative needs of printmakers to “fix” perceived weaknesses in the artwork reproduced can lead to significant alterations should a copy be based on another copy that was based on a drawing. Certainly this is the case with this print as it is a copy of Martino Rota’s reproductive print which in turn was a copy of an anonymous artist’s print. Going further, this print may also be a copy of a copy of Rota’s print as FAMSF holds another version of this same image published by Nelli, but in reverse. My mind boggles with the little changes that inevitably occur with all this copying.

As a point of comparison between Rota’s version and the FAMSF’s copy in reverse, an examination of the portrait medallion/roundel of Michelangelo at age 73 shown at top of the composition is interesting (see: https://art.famsf.org/martino-rota/last-judgment-19633036434  and https://art.famsf.org/martino-rota/last-judgment-19633036437).






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