Christ in the House of Simon the Pharisee

chiaroscuro woodcut printed from four blocks in shades of greyish-brown, circa 1545-65, on laid paper, indistinct watermark Crowned Eagle surmounted by an Orb (?), second, final state, reprinted by Andreani in 1609, trimmed to or just outside the borderline, with some tiny nicks and repaired losses at the sheet edges, otherwise in good condition. References:Bartsch 17; see Takahatake 80, fig. 3. Block & Sheet 253 x 372 mm.

A very good clear impression of this great rarity, printing strongly and with much gaufrage.

Jan Johnson brought the little known printmaker Allesandro Gandini to light in her seminal article on the artist in Print Quarterly in 2013. Gandini’s name appears on three chiaroscuro woodcuts, and he probably made at least three more. He worked in Bologna (Johnson documents the location of his house and neighborhood, and even some of his relationships with neighbors!), as a mathematician as well as an artist (at the time it was more common than today that people worked in different fields simultaneously). Given that Gandini was an amateur, the quality of his work is quite astonishing.

Christ in the House of Simon the Pharisee is recorded in only four impressions. It depicts the story (in the Gospel of Luke) of a penitent woman, often thought of as Mary Magdalene, washing Christ’s feet with her tears. The design relates to a fresco by Giulio Romano and Gianfrancesco Penni following a design by Raphael. Gandini’s chiaroscuro was likely most influenced by a Parmigianino drawing made after a design for the fresco by Raphael or his workshop.

Gandini’s Christ in the House of Simon the Pharisee exists in two states: the first state has an inscription with Gandini’s name at the base of Christ’s chair; in the later second state the artist Andrea Andreani cut slashes in Gandini’s signature and added the date 1609 and the publisher’s address.

Bartsch 17; see Takahatake (The Chiaroscuro Woodcut in Renaissance Italy, 80, fig. 3; see Fondazione Cini ALU.1050.1;
Jan Johnson, Alessandro Gandini. Uncovering the identity of a chiaroscuro woodcutter, in: Print Quarterly, March, 2013, pp. 3-13.