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Wednesday 29 May 2019

Agostino Carracci's engraving, ”A Satyr Approaching a Sleeping Nymph", c1590–95

Agostino Carracci (1557–1602)

”A Satyr Approaching a Sleeping Nymph” (aka “Un Satyre surprenant une Nymphe endormie” [Bartsch title]), c1590–95, from the series of fifteen plates, “Lascivie”.
Engraving on buff-coloured laid paper trimmed unevenly with narrow margins around the platmark and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet trimmed unevenly) 16.4 x 11.1 cm; (plate) 15.6 x 10.8 cm; (image borderline) 15.4 x 10.3 cm.
State i (of i) A late impression (18th century) of the only state.

TIB 39(18).128(108) (Diane deGrazia Bohlin [ed.] 1980, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century” vol. 39, New York, Abaris Books, p. 170); Bartsch: XVIII, 108.128; Bohlin 1979 184 (Diane deGrazia Bohlin 1979, “Prints and related drawings by the Carracci family”, Washington, National Gallery of Art, p. 298).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“A satyr approaching a sleeping nymph; a nymph asleep to right under a tree lying on drapery, with a satyr approaching from left in shadow, his finger to his mouth.”

Michael Bury (2001) in “The Print in Italy 1550–1620”, published by The British Museum Press offers the following insight into the series, “Lascivie”, of which this print is a part:
 “Explicitly erotic prints are known to have been produced from the fifteenth century on. The survival rate will have been particularly low because of the likelihood that they would be destroyed in outbreaks of moralizing. The most famous sixteenth-century example is the series of “I Modi” or the “Positions”, engraved by Marcantonio Raimondi, of which only a few mutilated fragments remain …. The prints which have conventionally been seen as forming Agostino's “Lascivie” are on the whole less explicitly sexual than Marcantonio's and they represent biblical or mythological subjects, which give them an additional dimension of meaning” (p. 196).

Condition: well-printed but slightly grey impression (clearly a late impression) trimmed with narrow margins around the platemark. The sheet is in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of use) and is laid on a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

Note that this is the second impression of this print that I have posted (the previous print has been sold).

I am selling this sensitively executed engraving that is seldom seen on the art market for the total price of AU$380 (currently US$262.88/EUR235.60/GBP207.96 at the time of posting this print) 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 16th century engraving that would have been at the time highly erotic and kept under lock and key, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print is available for purchase

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