Saturday, 14 April 2018

Adamo Scultori’s engraving, “Male Nude Seated on a Pedestal Flanking ‘The Sacrifice of Noah'”, after Michelangelo, c1585


Adamo Scultori (aka Adam Ghisi; Adamo Ghisi) (fl.1547–1587)

“Male Nude Seated on a Pedestal Flanking ‘The Sacrifice of Noah'”,
c1585, plate 9 from the series 73 plates (including the frontispiece), “Studies after Michelangelo figures from the Sistine Chapel”

See the full series of plates in Paolo Bellini’s (1991), “L'opera incisa Adamo e Diana Scultori”, Vicenza, pp. 65–104 and in Suzanne Boorsch & John Spike [eds.] 1986, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Italian Artists of the Sizteenth Century”, vol. 31, Abaris Books, New York, pp. 180–215—this print is reproduced on p. 183.)

Engraving on laid paper with large margins and lined with a backing sheet.
Size: (sheet) 27.4 x 21.4 cm; (plate) 14.8 x 10.9 cm; (image borderline) 14.3 x 10.4 cm
Inscribed on plate with the artist’s monogram, “AS” at lower left corner and with abraded trace of the plate number, “9”, at lower right corner.
State ii (of ii)

TIB 31 (15) (Adamo Ghisi [Scultori]) 35 (426); Bellini (Scultori) 29-1 (2); Bartsch 35
The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
“Seated naked man, partly turned to the side, with a garland of acorns. One of the 'ignudi' (naked men) of Michelangelo's ceiling painting. Numbered bottom right: 9.”

Condition: crisp impression (most likely a lifetime impression based on the quality of the printed line) with (rare) wide margins laid onto a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The breaks in the image borderline are not defects as that also show in the impression reproduced in TIB p. 183. There is however an abrasion/loss to the number,”9”, at the lower right corner which is only partially visible and there is a flattened fold in the lower right margin. Beyond these issues the print is in excellent condition for its age (i.e. there are no tears, holes, stains or foxing).

I am selling this rarely seen engraving from the Italian Renaissance for AU$342 in total (currently US$265.67/EUR215.35/GBP186.63 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable engraved translation of a detail of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, 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



At the time that Adamo Scutori executed this and his other engraved translations of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, Italian printmakers were not always held in high regard. For example, Evelyn Lincoln (2000) in “The Invention of the Italian Renaissance Printmaker” (Yale University Press, New Haven) offers the following revealing insight:
“When Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga was approached for drawn copies of Giulio Romano’s Sale de’ Giganti in the Palazzo del Te he answered that he would try to find someone to do it, but was not hopeful because ‘here there are such sad masters’ in obtaining that kind of work” (pp. 118–9).

Indeed, so poor was the view of the local Italian masters that Cardinal Gonzaga left no doubt about his perception of local talent to make a copy of a portrait that he had “that he would try to give it to the ‘best master, or to the least bad one that we have in this place’” (ibid)—such a dreadful indictment!

Notwithstanding such a prevailing attitude and the failure of Giovanni Battista (Adamo’s father) to satisfy Cardinal Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle’ commission for a folio of drawings reproducing Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, Adamo Scutori’s was successful in establishing a reputation in the papal court for the quality of his engravings underpinning the publication of the series of prints of Michelangelo’s ceiling in which this print features. One aspect of Scutori’s passage into acceptance by the court that I see as devilishly contradictory and sensible is the lesson given by his father: remain “noticeable and yet inconspicuous” (p. 120).







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