Gallery of prints for sale

Thursday 14 January 2021

Benigno Bossi’s etchings: “Portrait of a Man Facing Right”, 1773; “Portrait of a Young Girl Wearing a Scarf”, 1783

Benigno Bossi (1727–1792)

Two etchings with dot-roulette printed in sanguine coloured ink on laid paper



“Portrait of a Man Facing Right” (descriptive title), 1773, plate 28 from the series of 49 plates (including the frontispiece and antiporta), “Raccolta di teste inventate, disegnate e incise da B. Bossi” (Transl. “Collection of heads created, drawn, and engraved by Benigno Bossi”), published by Gioachino Bettalli and C Cont.a of Capello (as inscribed on the title plate). There is a preliminary drawing for this print held in the Museo Glauco Lombardi (Parma).

Size: (sheet) 19.5 x 15.8 cm; (plate) 12.7 x 10.2 cm; (image borderline) 11.8 x 9.3 cm

Inscribed: (upper right) “28”; (lower left) “Benigno Bossi In. f. Parma 1773”

LeBlanc 64-103; Museo Glauco Lombardi, Parma, inv. no. 7232 (etching); F Sandrini, ‎L F Schianchi & ‎P Sivieri 2003, “Museo Glauco Lombardi: Maria Luigia e Napoleone”, p. 117 (lo splendido Ritratto virile a sanguigna); see also “The Mark J. Millard Architectural Collection: Italian and Spanish books, fifteenth through nineteenth centuries”, National Gallery of Art, 2000, p.77f.


“Portrait of a Young Girl Wearing a Scarf” (descriptive title), 1783, plate 37 from the series, “Raccolta di teste inventate, disegnate e incise da B. Bossi”, published by Gioachino Bettalli and C Cont.a of Capello.

Size: (sheet) 12 x 10.4 cm; (plate) 6.6 x 6.8 cm; (image borderline) 5.6 x 6.2 cm

Inscribed: (upper right) “37”; (lower left) “Bossi In. f. 1783”


Condition: richly inked and well-printed impressions with generous margins and in an excellent condition (i.e., there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, losses, significant stains or signs of handling).

I am selling this pair of remarkably sensitive studies, for the total cost of AU$428 for the pair (currently US$331.99/EU273.39/GBP242.77 at the time of posting this listing) including Express Mail (EMS) 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 pair of small and very beautiful etchings, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

What I find interesting about this pair of etchings is that the left print was executed midway through Bossi’s artistic career, whereas the right one was executed ten years later and may be viewed as exemplifying his fully matured style.

From my reading of his earlier stylistic leanings (as exemplified by the left print), Bossi had initially adopted a rather formulaic style involving squiggles and evenly spaced return-strokes aligned at much the same angle. By contrast, his mature style (as exemplified by the right print), reveals that Bossi had moved away from his earlier faux boldness to a more intuitively exploratory approach involving sensitive strokes laid as mimetic equivalents for the subject’s physical attributes—dots to connote flesh, thick lines to suggest coarse fabric and fine lines to signify soft fabric. Essentially, Bossi had shifted in his way of looking from a singular vision where style was more important than the portrayed subject (the left print) to a more adaptive vision when the artist’s response to the subject was more important than style (the right print).

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