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Friday 23 September 2016

Louis Jean Désiré Delaistre’s etching (with engraving) of a self-portrait by Tintoretto

Louis Jean Désiré Delaistre (1800–71)
“R. Tintoret” c.1830, after a self-portrait by Jacopo Tintoretto (1519–94) now in the Louvre (inv. 572), published by Chaillou-Potrelle (1796–1833; fl.).
Etching and engraving on wove paper, trimmed within the platemark, and laid on a fine washi support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 32.1 x 21.4 cm; (image borderline) 21.4 x 16.2 cm
Lettered with production detail: “R. Tintoret pinx.t - Delaistre Del.t et Sculp.t”', publication address: “A Paris chez Ch. Potrelle M.d d'Estampes Rue St Honoré en face l'Oratoire”, and title, continuing: 'D'Après le Tableau du Musée Royal'.
The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Portrait of Tintoretto, after the artist's self-portrait; bust-length, facing front, on dark ground.” (
IFF 19 (Inventaire du Fonds Français: Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes, Paris, 1930)

Condition: well-inked and well-printed impression in excellent condition (i.e. there are no stains, foxing, abrasions or holes) but with an almost invisible small tear to the outer edge and consequently the sheet has been laid on a fine conservator’s support sheet.
I am selling this visually arresting graphic translation of a self-portrait by the famous artist, Tintoretto, engraved by Delaistre for AU$92 in total (currently US$70.58/EUR62.78/GBP53.97 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this portrait of one of the truly great painters o the 16th century, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

Whenever I see a self-portrait, I look to see if the artist has portrayed their face with dilated pupils. The reason that I am fascinated with large pupils is that my personal experience of creating self-portraits reveals that the pupils in my eyes get larger the closer I get when examining myself in a mirror—a phenomenon that is no doubt shared by other artists. Although artists tend to see themselves with unusually large pupils, I wish to propose that portraits where the pupils are rendered “normal” sized—which is often the case in photographic “selfies”—the portrait tends to appear soulless. Although not everyone may concur that self-portraits are more authentic when the pupils are big, I suspect that Delaistre understood the importance of how pupils are portrayed as the large pupils in this self-portrait of Tintoretto draw my attention to the face like a pair of sexy magnets.

Beyond the treatment of the eyes, this print is a remarkable example of mimetic rendering. By this I mean that Delaistre uses marks that closely resemble the texture, softness, opacity and sheen of the surfaces that he represents. Note for example, how the deeply etched, thick and curving lines describing Tintoretto’s cloak connote that the material is heavy, dense, soft, and has a slight sheen to it. Going further, note how the lines describing the cloak’s fur collar express the length of the individual hairs, the fur’s directional grain and its shininess. Regarding the rendering of the face—executed with engraved lines rather than the etched lines describing the cloak—here a complex web of lines express and differentiate the complex textures of hair, beard and skin. In short, the technical control and the close observation of detail exhibited in this portrait is amazing.

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