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Monday, 26 July 2021

Charles Nicolas Cochin I & Nicolas Le Sueur’s, “La Calomnie, peinte par Apelles”, 1729

Charles Nicolas Cochin I (1688–1754) (etching component) in collaboration with Nicolas Le Sueur (1690–1764) (aquatint component)

La Calomnie, peinte par Apelles”, 1729, plate 39 from the series, “Recueil d'estampes d'après les plus beaux tableaux et d'après les plus beaux desseins qui sont en France” (Collection of prints from the most beautiful paintings and from the most beautiful designs that are in France) (aka “Recueil Crozat”; “Cabinet Crozat”), after a drawing by Raphael (1483–1520) (see https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1955-1109-10-11) and no doubt loosely based on the composition (in reverse) of Sandro Botticelli’s tempera on wood painting, “La Calomnie d'Apelle” (c1495) in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence (see: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Calomnie_d%27Apelle_(Botticelli)), published by François Basan (1723–1797) in 1764.

Regarding the publication of the series, “Recueil Crozat”, the Curator of the British Museum offers the following insights:

“… a series of plates commissioned by Crozat [Pierre Crozat (1665–1740)] … reproducing famous paintings and drawings of the era; 140 plates were published in 1729. A second volume formed by 42 prints (instead of the 110 plates initially planned) was issued in 1740.

After Crozat's death, the plates were sold to a company of booksellers who commissioned Mariette to reorganize the 'Recueil'; Mariette divided the plates into two volumes, added some missing descriptions, and advertised the set to the public in 1742.

In 1764, Basan [François Basan (1723–1797)] bought the plates and the text, and republished the 'Recueil', but replaced the woodcuts by intaglio prints. … where an attempt to imitate the effect of a chiaroscuro woodcut is made by using aquatint instead …”

(https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1907-1121-14 ).

Etching and aquatint imitating a chiaroscuro woodcut, printed in two shades of brown on heavy laid paper (with watermark).

Size: (sheet) 27.4 x 44.4 cm; (plate) 18.7 x 35.7 cm; (image borderline) 15.9 x 34 cm.

Lettered in plate below the image borderline: (centre) “La Calomnie, peinte par Apelles/dessein de Raphaël, qui est dans le Cabinet de Mr. Crozat, gravé en cuivre par Charles Nicolas Cochin, et en bois par Nicolas le Sueur”; (right) “39”.

IFF 51 (Inventaire du Fonds Français: Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes); Le Blanc 25.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:

“The calumny of Apelles, after a drawing attributed on plate to Raphael: Calumny, preceded by a bearded man personifying Envy and followed by two women (Deceit and Malice?), hals [hauls?] a youth by the hair and brings him before a king with ass's ears, enthroned at left and surrounded by two female figures (Ignorance and Assumption?) who are whispering into his ears; on the right, an old woman personifying Remorse turns round as a naked woman, representing Truth, arrives; the print has been cut down the middle. c.1729/64 Aquatint imitating a chiaroscuro woodcut, printed in brown over etched lines” (https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1855-0609-118).

See also the description of this print offered by the Louvre: https://collections.louvre.fr/en/ark:/53355/cl020603407.

Condition: a well-printed impression with a generously wide margins in excellent condition with no tears, holes, folds, losses, abrasions, significant stains or foxing.

I am selling this curiosity of an intaglio print (viz. etching with aquatint) that is skilfully crafted to imitate the attributes/“look” of a chiaroscuro woodcut (i.e. a woodcut involving more than one tone of a colour) for AU$261 (currently US$191.85/EUR162.67/GBP139.41 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 technically important print showcasing a somewhat deceptive practice of the 18th century, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).











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