Isabella and Rodomonte
By Giovanni David
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Reference: Newcome Schleier-Grasso, 2003, no. 118, page 136, I/II
Edition size: Lifetime impression, I/II
Image size: 30,2 x 21,3 cm
Sheet size: 38,9 x 30,4 cm
A superb and well-inked impression, of first state of two, before the addition of Viero’s address. Printed with great contrast, with wide margins all around, on laid paper bearing ‘Letter T and Inscription’ watermark. In excellent condition, with a trace of a printer’s crease in the lower margin. With an old inscription in ink on the verso.
The deeply etched parts in the foreground produce a dramatic flickering chiaroscuro effect. Most of David’s etchings date to 1774-76, the brief period when he was working in Venice for his Genoese patron, Giacomo Durazzo. The thickly etched, rounded and fluid lines are characteristic of this period, and show how Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo’s technique influenced David.
The print figures the death of Isabella, unwittingly killed by Rodomonte, who believed her to be invulnerable. The subject is one that is rare and alien to Renaissance poems. The composition teems with interesting characters, and in the background there is a very beautiful array of arms.
Alizeri, 1864-1866, I.
M. Newcome Schleier and Giovanni Grasso, ‘Giovanni David: Pittore e incisore della famiglia Durazzo’, Artema, Torino 2003.