16th Century One-of-a Kind Etching by Pietro Faccini (ITALIAN 1562-1602)
PIETRO FACCINI (Bologne, Italy 1562-1602) Copper Plate Etching, Entitled VISION OF ST. FRANCIS engraved by Faccini himself in 1590. The etching’s Image measures 14 x 9.5; with Frame 16 x 10.5. The Etching is believed to have been created by Faccini from his drawing (now located at the Louvre) of the altarpiece painting by Faccini in the Church of the Capuchins of Bologna which was titled “Saint Francis Receiving the Christ Child in the Presence of the Virgin.”
PIETRO FACCINI (Bologne, Italy 1562-1602) Copper Plate Etching, Entitled VISION OF ST. FRANCIS engraved by Faccini himself in 1590. The etching’s Image measures 14 x 9.5; with Frame 16 x 10.5. The Etching is believed to have been created by Faccini from his drawing (now located at the Louvre) of the altarpiece painting by Faccini in the Church of the Capuchins of Bologna which was titled “Saint Francis Receiving the Christ Child in the Presence of the Virgin.” The Pandolfino Gallery in Italy, a previous owner of the etching, stated that “Da un disegno in controparte conservato al Louvre per il dipinto nella Chiesa dei Cappuccini di Bologna. Si tratta dellÃ¢â‚¬â„¢unica incisione di attribuita a Faccini da una sua invenzione. Stato unico conosciuto. Bellissima impressione stampata su carta vergellata. Al versotimbro della collezione A. C. Poggi (Lugt, 617). Margine oltre la linea di inquadramento, impronta della lastra visibile a tratti, ottima conservazione.” Roughly translated from Italian: “This is the only known engraving of Faccini from his invention. Very nice impression vergellata printed on [the laid] paper, with the stamp “A.C. [de] Poggi collection (Lugt, 617)” – which refers to Antonio Cesare [de] Poggi (a prominent art dealer and auctioneer active in the 18th and early 19th centuries, London and Paris, Lugt 617). Margin around image allowing for framework, footprint of the plate is still visible, excellent condition and preservation.
Faccini painted only about twelve pictures in his short career. According to his biographer he did not take up painting until he was about thirty. He trained in the Academy run by the Carracci family in Bologna and his style was strongly influenced by them. He was also inspired by the rich color of Venetian painting and the exaggerated forms of Parmigianino. Faccini was probably introduced to print-making while studying with the Carracci, but seems to have produced few prints. His more copious drawings were made in a variety of media, notably pen and ink, watercolor and red chalk.
This actual etching has been the subject of numerous historical works, the most recent being in the highly respected historical book titled “Divine mirrors: the Virgin Mary in the visual arts” by Melissa R. Katz and Robert A. Orsi, last published in 2001. Page 202 of “Divine Mirrors” states “Pietro Faccini (1562-1602) was active engraving in Bologna [engraving] the Saint Francis Receiving the Christ Child in the Presence of the Virgin; after an altarpiece by the artist for the Capuchin church, Bologna, now destroyed D 1590s M etching with engraving and stipple on medium- … of the etched line to create a sketchy, ethereal image of the Virgin Mary, who appears as a vision to the more solidly rendered, down-to-earth saint francis … The composition is believed to record a painting made by Faccini as an altarpiece for the Church of the Capuchins in Bologna.”
Prior to the record in “Divine Mirrors,” this very etching was described on page 115 of the scholarly work “Italian etchers of the Renaissance & Baroque” by Sue Welsh Reed, Richard W. Wallace, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1989, which states “37 Faccini’s Etching Saint Francis Receiving the Christ Child in the Presence of the Virgin evidently reproduced, or was a variation on, a painting, now lost, that was done for the church of the Capuccini in Bologna. … rather unusual to represent Saint Francis as actually holding the Christ Child, and in this case it can be taken as an expression of the Capuchin [desire to depict Saint Francis in this matter] … Faccini here used a lively etching style that made the whole print seem to pulse with the excitement of the saint’s ecstatic vision.” See also the Getty Museum artist summary.
Further History & Provenance & Notes: The etching was acquired by Worthington Galleries from the prominent Berlin, Germany Gallery of Galerie Bassenge; Galerie Bassenge KG, Erdener Str. 5a, 14193 Berlin-Grunewald. Prior was owned and sold by the prestigious Pandolfini Action House with offices in Florence, Milan and Rome, Italy. The etching is described by Pandolfini as above described. Pandolfini received the etching from a private Italian Estate, who is believed to have acquired the engraving from Gonnelli Liberia Antiquaria & Casa D’aste also located in Italy. In Pandolfini’s description, it is revealed that the paper on which the etching was made was laid paper used in the 16th and17th Centuries. It also describes that the etching has a collectors stamp revealing that the actual etching was either owned or sold by Antonio Cesare [de] Poggi, an extremely prominent art dealer and collector that also owned or sold countless drawings and engravings from other Old Masters including Rembrandt, See Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and Albrecht Dürer, The Monstrous Sow of Landser, Durer Engraving owned and marked by Poggi. See below. The Gonnelli Casa D’aste described the etching as follows: “Acquaforte. mm 336×245. Le Blanc, 1. TIB 40/18, 1. Da un disegno in controparte conservato al Louvre per un dipinto nella Chiesa dei Cappuccini di Bologna. Una delle sole due incisioni attribuite a Pietro Faccini e l’unica di sua invenzione. Sttao unico conosciuto. Bellissima impressione stampata con segno nitido e ben contrastato su carta vergellata. Rifilata sull’impronta della lastra ma completa della parte incisa, mancante della parte inferiore bianca, due piccole lacune restaurate, per il resto ottima conservazione.” This description roughly translated as “From a painting in the Church of the Capuchins of Bologna. One of only two incisions attributed to Pietro Faccini and the only of his own invention. The only etching remaining. Beautiful impression printed with sharp and well contrasted sign of vergellata card. Foisted on the footprint of the plate, but full of the engraved part, missing the white bottom, two small gaps restored, otherwise excellent preservation.”
In fact, the Provenenace of many important engravings include the dealer/collector stamp of Poggi. Antonio Cesare Poggi, was an Italian dealer and auctioneer that worked in Italy, Britain and Paris, France( 1769 – 1836), he was also known as Poggi, Antonio Cesare; De Poggi, Antonio Cesare. Poggi’s gallery was located at various addressed in London including 4 Orchard Street Portman Square (1782), 7 St George’s Row, Hyde Park (1783-1785, c.1787-91) and 91 New Bond Street, London (1796-1800). A.C. Poggi, while an Italian portrait and history painter early on; he later became successful as a print and drawing dealer. Poggi came to England from Italy with General Paoli in 1769. Exh. RA 1776. It is believed Poggi began dealing in old master drawings in London around 1780. He continued his art collecting in Paris in 1801, though his family seems to have stayed in London. Antonio Cesare de Poggi provided many drawings to Prince Esterhazy in 1810 (now in Budapest). A Paris sale after his death is recorded in 1836. Many prints and drawings of Poggi record his name as ‘De Poggi’ or A.A. Poggi. His collection was exhibited by the Royal Academy 1776 from Rome, and from 4 Orchard Street, Portman Square, London in 1781. The biographical information pertaining to Poggi was derived from Zsuzsanna Gonda, in Festschrift for Klara Garas, 1999, on Poggi and Trumbull (offprint in BM). For further reading on Poggi, see his listing in “Annals of Thomas Banks, Royal Academician” published in 1938.
Art works by Faccini are extremely rare. There are believed to exist only 12 paintings by Faccini, and only two (2) actual engravings (prints), this being the only etching made by Faccini’s own hand. The National Gallery of Scotland owns a similar etchings by Faccini entitled Saint Jerome Adoring a Crucifix.
Copper plate: A sheet of metal plate used for printmaking or an impression made from it. In the 17th century, it was used as a support for small detailed oil paintings.
Etching: A form of printmaking in which a metal plate is covered with a substance called a ‘ground’, usually wax, into which an image is drawn with a needle. Acid is applied, eroding the areas of the plate exposed but not the areas covered by wax. The action of the acid creates lines in the metal plate that hold the ink from which a print is made when the plate is pressed against paper under pressure.
Artist / Maker
Glass Covering, Matted
“Vision of St. Francis”