The Transfiguration
etching, circa 1587-1595, on laid paper, without watermark, a fine impression of this rare and important print, first state (of two), printing with much plate tone, strong vertical wiping marks and inky and rough plate edges, the upper sheet edge made up
Sheet 560 x 346 mm.

Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.
With P. & D. Colnaghi, London.
Eric G. Stanley (1923-2018), Oxford; acquired from the above, on 3 August 1977.
Bartsch 4
Brought to you by

Lot Essay

Procaccini's etching of The Transfiguration is a reversed version of his own painting of the same subject, executed shortly after his arrival in Milan in 1587 for the church of San Fedele (today at the Borromeo Collection, Isola Bella). It was first mentioned by Lomazzo in 1590, the terminus ante quem for the completion of the painting; the etching was presumably created around the same time or shortly after.

The etching exists in two states. In the second state, the face of Christ has been strengthened and clearly defined by another etcher. This is a misunderstanding of Procaccini's intensions. Unlike all other figures in this composition, Procaccini drew the figure of Christ in its entirety with tiny flicks and strokes of the needle, the finest of which describe His hair and beard; the face is almost left blank. Procaccini was searching for a way of translating the luminosity of the painting, with the figure of Christ bathed in light, into the etching medium. In the end, he decided to let Christ, and in particular His face, all but disappear - an ethereal vision rather than a physical presence.

Related Articles

More from
Old Master Prints
Place your bid Condition report

A Christie's specialist may contact you to discuss this lot or to notify you if the condition changes prior to the sale.

I confirm that I have read this Important Notice regarding Condition Reports and agree to its terms. View Condition Report