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Monday 9 September 2019

Ernst Morace's etching, “Vénus et Vulcain”, c1805, after Giulio Romano

Ernst Morace (1766–1806)

“Vénus et Vulcain”, c1805 (1803–1809), after the painting of the same composition and a preparatory drawing by the workshop of Giulio Romano (1499–1546) in the Musée du Louvre (Paris) (Inv. 424; see, after the intermediary draughtsman Jean Pierre Granger (aka Jean Perrin Granger) (1779–1840), from the four volume series, “Musée Francais” (aka “'Musée Français, recueil complet des tableaux, statues et bas-reliefs qui composent la collection nationale, avec l'explication des sujets et des discours historiques sur la peinture, la sculpture et la gravure”), published by Robillard-Péronville (1750–1809) and Pierre Laurent (aka Pierre François Laurent) (1739–1809) in, respectively, 1803, 1805, 1807, and 1809.

Note: Agostino Veneziano (aka Agostino dei Musi) (fl.1509–1536) also made an engraving in 1530 in reverse of this composition, but Veneziano attributes the design to Raphael rather than Romano, as inscribed on the plate: “'RAPH.URB.DUM.VIVERET. INVEN.” (see BM No. H,2.24.+). The anomaly regarding who is the true designer is even more complex, as the Curator of the British Museum explains:
[Veneziano’s engraving is after] “… a Raphael design commissioned by Giovanni Battiferri to be frescoed by Vincenzo di Sangimignano on the façade of his house in the Vatican Borgo (Passavant). Vasari describes an identical composition in the Life of Giulio Romano who painted it on the chimney of the villa of Messer Girolamo, organist of the Duomo of Mantua.”

Etching and engraving on heavy wove paper backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 52 x 37.5 cm; (plate) 46.8 x 34.7 cm; (image borderline) 37.9 x 24.8 cm.
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Peint par Jules Romain.”; (centre) “Dessiné par Granger. / VÉNUS ET VULCAIN.”; (right) “Gravé par E. Morace.”

Massari 1993 13 (Stefania Massari 1993, “Giulio Romano pinxit et delineavit”, Roma); Nagler 16.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Venus and Vulcan, after Giulio Romano; at centre, Venus and Vulcan sit on the edge of a bed, she plucking an arrow from Cupid's quiver with her right hand, and fingering a plate of flowers with her left; Cupid holding his bow with both hands, turns back to look at Venus; the plate of flowers is supported by two putti, while two more play around Cupid; at left, through a doorway, a fifth putto tends a fire.”

Condition: richly inked, faultless impression with margins laid upon a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet is in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or significant signs of use).

I am selling this museum-quality etching (with engraving) with an intriguing history behind the design of the composition—perhaps the most recent attribution (based on the insights offered by the Curator of the BM [see No. 1859,0806.434]) is that two related drawings at the Musée du Louvre are by Biagio Pupini (Inv. 3478) and from the School of Raphael (Inv. 3657)—for AU$247 (currently US$169.68/EUR153.84/GBP137.34 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this technical masterwork from the early 1800s, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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