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Saturday 23 December 2023

Charles Nicolas Cochin I’s etching, “Alexandre et Roxane”, c.1729/40, after Raphael

Charles Nicolas Cochin I (1688–1754)

“Alexandre et Roxane”, c.1729/40 (BM attrib.), plate 37 after Raphael (aka Raffaello Sanzio; Raffaello Santi) (1483–1520), from the series, “Recueil Crozat” (aka “Recueil d'estampes d'après les plus beaux Tableaux et d'après les plus beaux Dessins qui sont en France”).

Etching and engraving on heavy laid paper with watermark, trimmed along the platemark.

Size: (sheet) 23.1 x 31.7 cm; (image borderline) 21 x 30.7 cm.

Lettered in plate below the image borderline: (centre) ALEXANDRE ET ROXANE/ D'après le dessein de Raphaël, qui est dans le Cabinet de Mr. Crozat de la mesme grandeur de l’Estampe gravé en cuivre par Charles Nic. Cochin.” (According to the design of Raphaël, which is in the Cabinet of Mr. Crozat of the same size as the engraved copper print by Charles Nic. Cochin.); (right) “37”.

IFF 49 (Département des estampes 1930–, “Inventaire du Fonds Français: Graveurs du Dix-Huitième Siècle”, vol. 4, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, cat. no. 49).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Alexander the Great stands in front of Roxane and holds out his hands; the young woman sits on a bed at right and lowers her gaze modestly; both are naked and surrounded by putti; after Raphael. c.1729/40” (; see also the description offered by the Louvre:

Interestingly, around a century before Cochin made this print, Jacopo Caraglio (aka Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio) (c.1500–1565), executed an engraving of almost the same composition after Raphael in which the figures are clothed; see Caraglio’s engraving held by the British Museum: In the discussion of Caraglio’s print, the Curator of the British Museum offers the following fascinating insights about the composition which also applies to Cochin’s print: “The print follows the ecphrasis in Lucian's 'Herodotus' very closely. It describes how some putti are straining to lift another on the heavy shield while one crawls inside the cuirass 'in ambush' so as to pop out and give everyone a surprise. The attribution to Raphael is traditional, and is presumably based on the resemblance to the figure of Alexander in the grisaille in the Stanza della Segnatura” (op. cit.).

Condition: a well-printed impression, trimmed along the platemark. Beyond minor age-toning, handling marks and pale glue residue in the corners (from verso), the sheet is in good condition for its considerable age with no tears, holes, abrasions or significant stains.

I am selling this sensitively executed etching (with engraving) showing Alexander the Great (356–323 BC) surrounded by putti having fun—note that a group on the left are playing at being carried on Alexander’s shield while another in the foreground has crawled inside his armour (cuirass)—as Alexander makes a gesture of invitation to his wife, Roxane (334–310 BC), seated on a bed, for AU$302 (currently US$205.43/EUR186.51/GBP161.74 at the time of this listing) including Express Mail (EMS) 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 wonderful etching that seems almost luminous with the delicacy of the rendering of the figures, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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