Adoration of the Magi
etching and engraving, circa 1530-61, on laid paper, watermark Ladder in Circle with six-pointed Star (probably Woodward 238; Rome, 1548) , a fine impression of this rare print, first state (of two)
Plate 307 x 449 mm.
Sheet 308 x 451 mm.
With Olimpia Theodoli, London.
Eric G. Stanley (1923-2018), Oxford; acquired from the above in December 1999.
Bartsch XVI.154.2
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Lot Essay

This print appear to be result of a collaboration between the etcher Battista Franco and an engraver, possibly Marco del Moro, also known as Marco Veronese. The print bears the initials MV at lower right, which Nagler associated with this printmaker (see Nagler 2212).

It was Battista Franco's practice to develop a composition in etching and have the print completed and all the shading added by an engraver with the burin. In the case of the present Adoration of the Magi however, only the tree at right appears to be executed by in pure etching, while the rest of the print was engraved by another hand. There is a general consensus that the tree was etched by Battista Franco, while the attribution of the burin work is less certain.

Bartsch does not record different states of this print, but the present impression is a first state. In the second state, Battista Franco's son Giacomo added his publisher's address Franco forma. at lower centre of the plate (e.g. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, inv. no. RP-P-OB-35.871). The fact that the plate was later in the hands of Giacomo Franco is an indication for his father's association with this print and may indicate that the composition (if only a small part of the execution of it) can be attributed to him.

We are grateful to Catherine Jenkins, London, for her help in cataloguing this lot.
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