Andrea Andreani

ca. 1558/59 – Mantua – 1629

  • Madonna and Child accompanied by the Infant Saint John the Baptist

  • Chiaroscuro woodcut printed from four blocks in shades of ochre, brown and black on laid paper, 1585

  • Size

    427 x 337 mm

  • Provenance

    John Linnell (1792-1882), London (by repute); Christopher Mendez, London, 1988; Private collection, England

  • Reference

    Bartsch 27, 3rd (final) state; Meyer I.720.24, 3rd (final) state

The image is after the Venetian painter Jacopo Ligozzi and represents the Virgin and Child, with Saint John the Baptist as a child, Saint Francis on the right and Saint Catherine of Siena on the left. This is a simplified version of the classical representation of the holy relationship of Jesus which usually also included Anne, Joachim and other ancestors, according to the census taken in the Golden Legend. Here, they have been replaced by two of the most popular Italian saints of the time.


The least we can say is that it is a very impressive impression, of great freshness, with considerable embossing. Being among the first printmakers in Italy to use chiaroscuro, Andreani was still in Florence when he made the present block. Most of the other copies recorded were printed from four blocks in olive green and black inks, what make them much less attractive. The British Museum has an impression of that type, but less fresh. The sheet is in good condition; the four corners have been slightly canted, two central horizontal creases with nicks at the edges.

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