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Tuesday 11 February 2020

Francesco Brizio's engraving, “St Mary Magdalene in Penitence”, c.1600

Francesco Brizio (aka Francesco Briccio) (1574–1623)

“St Mary Magdalene in Penitence” (aka “Mary Magdalen”; “Maria Magdalena”), c.1600, possibly after Lodovico Carracci (1555–1619) (according to Carlo Cesare Malvasia [1961] in “Le Pitture di Bologna”, p. 74) or more likely Titian (1489/90–1576) because of the close view of Mary seen in supplication (according to DeGrazia Bohlin [1979] in her catalogue raisonné for the Carracci family, p. 396), published by Nicolas van Aelst (1550s–1613).

Engraving on laid paper trimmed with a thread margin around the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 23.1 x 18.2 cm; (inner image borderline) 21.2 x 18 cm.
Lettered below the image borderline: “SPECVLVM PENITENTIÆ”.

State i (of ii) lifetime impression before the addition of the publisher’s address.

TIB 4003.004 S1 (Veronika Birke 1987, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Italian Masters of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries”, vol. 40 [Commentary Part 1], New York, Abaris Books, p. 185, .004 S1); DeGrazia Bohlin R29 (Diane DeGrazia Bohlin 1979, “Prints and Related Drawings by the Carracci Family: A Catalogue Raisonné”, Washington, National Gallery of Art, p. 396, R 29); Bartsch XVIII.80.83 (under Agostino Carracci) (Adam Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre Graveur”, vol. 18, Vienna, p. 80, 83).

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
(transl.) “Maria Magdalena in a landscape. In the background on the right is an ointment jar”

See also the description of this print offered by the British Museum:

Regarding the pose of a figure portrayed resting their head on their hand, by tradition this pose signifies a state of melancholy and because the figure shown here is the biblical figure, Mary Magdalen—note her symbolic attribute: the jar of ointment used to anoint the crucified Christ—her pose is likely to signify repentant sorrow for her former life as a promiscuous woman.

Condition: Evenly and well-printed lifetime impression showing no sign of wear to the printing plate, trimmed with a narrow margin around the borderline and laid upon a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet is in excellent condition for its age (i.e. there are no tears, folds, holes, losses, abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this exceptionally rare lifetime impression (before the addition of the publisher’s name) in museum quality condition for AU$432 in total (currently US$289.76/EUR265.33/GBP224.22 at the time of posting 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 beautifully executed engraving exemplifying the Baroque period style of heightened drama and exuberant rhythms, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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