Monday, 29 June 2020
Jean Honoré Fragonard’s etching, “Sainte Catherine d'Alexandrie”, c.1763, after Mattia Preti
Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806)
“Sainte Catherine d'Alexandrie” (aka “Saint Catherine of Alexandria Cured by an Angel”), 1763–1764, after Mattia Preti’s (1613–1699) (aka Il Cavalier Calabrese [the Calabrian Knight]) painting on the ceiling of church of San Pietro a Maiella, in Naples.
Note: Georges Wildenstein in the catalogue rainsonné for Fragonard’s etchings (1955) advises that this etching was previously wrongly titled by Gaudour and Goncourt, “The Conception of the Blessed Virgin”. Consequently it does not show “a representation of the virginal conception of Christ” as described by the Curator of the British Museum (see BM inv. 1882,0311.1157). Instead, according to Wildenstein (1955) (transl.), it “represents a scene from the life of Saint Catherine, after a painting by Calabrèse [Mattia Preti] on the ceiing of the church of San Pietro a Maiella, in Naples” (p. 24). Wildenstein goes on to explain:
“The young saint, who was flogged on the orders of Emperor Maximin, awaits the punishment in a dungeon. Two angels comfort her while she contemplates the dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit” (ibid).
Etching on buff laid paper trimmed with a narrow margin around the image borderline.
Size: (sheet) 13.2 x 7.4 cm; (image borderline) 12.7 x 6.9 cm.
State i (of ii) Lifetime impression before the addition of signature and numbering.
Wildenstein 15; (Georges Wildenstein 1956, “Fragonard Aquafortiste”, Les Beaux Arts, Paris, p. 24, cat. no. xv ); Baudicour 16 (P de Baudicour 1859–61, “Le Peintre-Graveur Français continué”, vol. 1, Paris, p. 166, cat. no. 16): IFF 14 (Inventaire du Fonds Français: Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes, Paris, 1930, vol. IX, p. 287, cat. no. 14).
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Enigmatic scene with dove flying above two naked angels standing beside a seated half-naked woman. c.1761/65 Etching”
See also the description of this print offered by Harvard Art Museums:
Condition: well-printed first-state/lifetime impression trimmed with a small margin around the image borderline. The sheet is in very good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, stains or foxing—but there are thin areas that are not visible recto) with a collector’s stamp verso.
I am selling this extraordinarily beautiful and rare lifetime impression by Fragonard, for AU$496 (currently US$340.81/EUR302.85/GBP276.72 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 exceptionally fine etching by one of the most important French masters of the 18th century, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.