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Thursday 24 February 2022

Francesco Bartolozzi’s engraving, “Proverb V: Warning Against Adultery”, 1764

Francesco Bartolozzi (1728–1815)

“Proverb V: Warning Against Adultery” (aka “Juvenis ascultans seni de divinis admonenti”; “My son attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding”), 1764, published in London by John Boydell (1719–1804) as an illustration to Chapter 5 of “The Proverbs of Solomon”, regarding the perils of adultery:

“My son, pay attention to my wisdom;

Lend your ear to my understanding,

That you may preserve discretion,

And your lips may keep knowledge.

For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey,

And her mouth is smoother than oil;

But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,

Sharp as a two-edged sword … (

The British Museum advises that the two figures portrayed are after Camillo Procaccini’s (1561–1629) fresco, “Last Judgement”, in S. Prospero, Reggio Emilia (see Note, however, that the print is inscribed as being after the design of Pellegrino Tibaldi (aka Pellegrino De' Pellegrini) (1527–1596).

Engraving and etching printed in umber ink and trimmed around the image borderline with small marrgins.

Size: (sheet) 47.2 x 33.9 cm; (image borderline) 39.4 x 31.8 cm.

Lettered below the image borderline: (left) “Pellegrino Tibaldi del.”; (centre) “Juvenis auscultans Seni de divinis admonenti./ My Son attend unto my Wisdom, and bow thine ear to my Understanding. Proverbs Ch. V.”; (right) “F. Bartolozzi Londini sculpsit.”

State iii (of iii) with the addition of the title text.

Calabi & De Vesme 339

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “An older man, seated on a cloud, head in profile to right, left arm raised, index finger pointing upwards, talking to a younger man, seated at his feet, his right arm resting on his left knee; in the background on the right, bust and heads of three male figures” (

Condition: a well-printed (almost faultless) impression trimmed with a small margin around the image borderline. The sheet is in superb/near pristine condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling.

I am selling this large and sensitively executed engraving showcasing the amazing skill that made Francesco Bartolozzi famous—interestingly, this print heralds his later fame for using coloured ink (especially sanguine) and inventing the “crayon manner” in which stippling is employed to reproduce the coarse textures of chalk/crayon drawings—for AU$328 (currently US$236.11/EUR210.25/GBP175.81at 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 technically superb engraving in near pristine condition, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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