Ornamental Panel With A Rampant Lion In An Oval Cartouche

Enea Vico - Ornamental Panel with a Rampant Lion in an Oval Cartouche

Enea Vico (1523-1567) engraving, Ornamental Panel With A Rampant Lion In An Oval Cartouche, 1550, Bartsch 443, with the name of the publisher Ant[onio] Lafreri at bottom and also bottom center, first state (of 2) before numbers.  Good condition, with some printer’s smudges toward the edges, with small margins all around,  archival matting, 9 1/4 x 6 5/8 inches.

A fine, fresh impression, with many comedic features including a pair of exhausted lions on either side of the cartouche, snail-like hats/faces just below them, and a quiver of arrows and other arms toward the top of the elaborate design.

Provenance: Furstich Waldburg Wolfegg’sches Kupferstichkabinett (Lugt 2542).

The fine impressions of Vico’s Trophy series, such as this example, are of astonishing clarity and brilliance. This sort of showmanship was until recently discounted as lacking in original draughtsmanship or inventiveness, but recent work (as exemplified in the British Museum exhibit The Print in Italy, 1550-1620), is reawakening enthusiasm for Italian prints of this period.

In the December 2002 issue of The Print Quarterly Rosemary Mulcahy writes that “Enea Vico da Parma was the outstanding printmaker of his generation.” She goes on to quote Vasari, who allocated Vico a substantial entry in his Lives: “many others have engaged in copper engraving, but have not attained such perfection.”

Vico made a range of prints, including archaeological excursions and designs such as this one, and also statues, gems, vases, and some portraits.