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Wednesday 24 August 2016

“Dwarf Halberdier with a Greyhound” after Paolo Veronese

After Paolo Veronese (also known as Paolo Caliari) (1528–88) by an unidentified printmaker
“Dwarf Halberdier with a Greyhound”, 17–18th century
Etching on paper with fragments of wood in the paper and cut within the plate marks. I would normally propose that this is wove paper as I am unable to see chain-lines within it, but I suspect that the paper may be an early imported paper. I am mindful that Rembrandt made many of his prints on what scholars term “Oriental papers” imported from India, China and Japan. Moreover, the Japanese papers are often buff coloured like this sheet and seldom show the screen pattern of the mould from which they were cast.
Inscribed within the plate (upper right) “Paolo Caliari pinx”, (sheet) 13.4 x 8.1 cm.

Condition: crisp and well-inked impression trimmed within the plate marks in excellent condition but with remnants of mounting hinges (verso). I am selling this finely executed study after Veronese for $137 AUD (currently US$104.53/GBP79.02/EUR92.68 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this remarkably beautiful etching by an oldmaster, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

I acquired this stunning print many years ago from a dealer in Holland whom I had previously purchased many prints before but this is the only one that he stated unequivocally: “This is a beautiful print” and added “my wife likes this one!” The admiration that he felt towards this very small print is easy to understand: it really is a superb image. For me the lightness of its execution and its expression of open space captures not only the spirit of Veronese but also that of Tiepolo.

Before concocting an appropriate descriptive title for this print (I have been unable to locate this etching in my research to find its “correct” title) I did a little exploratory fact finding about the custom of showing dogs and dwarf courtiers—especially ones carrying a sword—in the paintings of this time. Rather than discovering that such subjects were simply as representation of what court life was like at the time, I found that Veronese was even hauled over the coals (metaphorically speaking) for featuring them in his religious paintings—specifically “Feast in the House of Levi”. Regarding this painting, the following snippet of questions from the Inquisition and answers from Veronese are fascinating:

“Q. And who are really the persons whom you admit to have been present at this Supper?

A. I believe that there was only Christ and His Apostles; but when I have some space left over in a picture I adorn it with figures of my own invention.

Q. Did some person order you to paint Germans, buffoons, and other similar figures in this picture?

A. No, but I was commissioned to adorn it as I thought proper; now it is very large and can contain many figures.”

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