Two Trophies With a Breast Plate and a Ram’s Head

Enea Vico (1523-1567 engraving, Two Trophies With a Breast Plate and a Ram’s Head, 1550, Bartsch 447, with the name of the publisher Ant[onio] Lafreri at bottom, before numbers.  Good condition, with small margins all around (slight discoloration upper right and left due to hinging),  archival matting, 9 1/2 x 7 inches.

A fine, fresh impression.

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.