The Young Tobias brought by the Archangel Raphael before the Virgin and Christ Child
engraving, circa 1570-1615, on laid paper, without watermark, a fine, rich and tonal impression of this extremely rare print, printing with many impurities along the plate edges
Plate 243 x 204 mm.
Sheet 255 x 220 mm.
Inscribed in brown ink verso 'Dr Rotta 1775', possibly a collector's inscription (not in Lugt).
Probably with Colnaghi & Co., London (presumably their number P12530 in pencil verso).
Eric G. Stanley (1923-2018), Oxford.
Bartsch 32
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Lot Essay

This engraving by Cherubino Alberti, from San Sepolcro in Tuscany, is recorded by Bartsch and described as one of his earliest graphic works. No date is given on the plate but it is inscribed with the artist's monogram and the Papal Privilegio. This inscription, engraved in the same calligraphic style, is also found on an engraving of The Adoration of the Magi (B. 48) by Alberti after Rosso Fiorentino, dated 1574. This might provide us with an approximate date for the execution of the present print.
Another engraving, The Holy Family with Saint Anne and the young Saint John the Baptist (B. XVII.122.97), recorded by Bartsch as one of the doubtful works by Alberti, shows many similarities with the present one. The composition is seen from a greater distance and the landscape in the background has been changed. The figure of Saint Joseph appears to be copied from the present subject, while the pose of the Virgin has been reversed and slightly modified. The graphic style appears quite conventional compared to Alberti's rather expressive and spontanueos style. It seems plausible that the Holy Family with Saint Anne was in fact made by another hand, rather than Alberti repeating himself in such an obvious way.

To our knowledge, the impression in the Albertina, Vienna, is the only one in major public collections, and no other impression has been offered at auction within the last thirty years.
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