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Friday, 16 February 2018

Giuseppe Camerata’s etching (with engraving), “Parable of the Lost Coin”, 1753

Giuseppe Camerata (1718–1803)

“Parable of the Lost Coin”, 1753, after Domenico Feti (aka Domenico Fetti) (1589–1623), from the series, “Recueil d'estampes d'après les plus célèbres tableaux de la Galerie Royale de Dresde”, published in the first edition.

Etching with engraving on laid paper with wide margins.
Size: (sheet) 60.9 x 47.6 cm; (plate) 42 x 31cm; (image borderline) 36.3 x 8.7 cm

Lettered on plate below the image borderline with Italian and French version of the text separated by the engraved seal of the Dresden Gallery: (left) “Quadro di Domenico Feti / di Mantova / cavato dalla Galleria Reale di Dresda / Alto pied: 1. onc: 11 1/2 Largo pied: 1. onc: 6. 1/2.”; (right) “ J. Camerata del: et sculps. / Tableau de Dominique Feti / de Mantoue / de la Galerie Royale de Dresde. / Haut 1. pieds 11.1/2 pouc: Large 1. pi: 6 1/2 pouc: / 29.”

State i (of ii?) from the first published edition printed on laid paper in 1753. See the later second edition printed on wove paper in c1795 and with additional publication details at the lower left at “Art of the Print”:

Nagler 1.
Ref: Karl Woermann 1899, “Catalogue Of The Royal Picture Gallery In Dresden”, Dresden, Wilhelm Hoffmann's Fine Art Works, p 317.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“The parable of the lost coin, with a stooping woman searching the floor of a high room by the light of a lamp, after Fetti. c.1750/57 Etching and engraving” (
See Domenico Feti’s painting, “Parable of the Lost Drachma”, c1618, which this print is a translation:

Condition: faultless impression in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, noteworthy stains or foxing, but there is a minor printer’s crease at the lower margin [i.e. a crease likely to have occurred during the printing process]).

I am selling this large and remarkably finely executed etching, revealing Feti’s leaning towards  Caravaggio’s dramatic lighting (chiaroscuro) in the painting that Camerata translated, for AU$138 (currently US$109.85/EUR87.93/GBP78.06 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost.

If you are interested in purchasing this quietly beautiful etching, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. 

This print has been sold

I like this print because there is so much knowledge that becomes apparent the more I examine it. For instance, I love the way that Camerata carefully “explains” the complexity of the silhouette edge of shadow side of the lady’s sleeve as she gentle holds the coin she has found and yet the silhouette edge of the lit side of this same sleeve is softened by the glare of the light. This treatment is not accidental. One only needs to compare Camerata’s treatment with Feti’s treatment of the same arm to see how Camerata has revitalised the original composition. In Camerata’s version there is poetry in his gentle adjustments to give the image the spark of life—and, to my eyes, this image glows like an ember in darkness.

For those who are unfamiliar with the “Parable of the Lost Coin”, the following verses from Luke 15:8–10 (New International Version) will be helpful:

8  "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won't she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it?
9  “And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.'”
10  “In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God's angels when even one sinner repents."

To give an insight into the importance of the silver coins (Greek drachmas) in the time of Jesus, I understand that each was worth the equivalent of a day’s wage (see

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