February 28, 2005

More Mitelli

Further to this recent Giornale entry, there follow some more etchings by the 17th/18th century Bolognese graphic artist Giuseppe Maria Mitelli. As before, I have scanned these from my copy of Le Collezioni d’Arte della Cassa di Risparmio in Bologna: Le Incisioni; Vol. I., edited by Franca Varignana.

Etching by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli from his 1678 series 'Proverbi Figurati.'

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Etching by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli from his 1678 series 'Proverbi Figurati.'

The first pair of images, above, are drawn from Mitelli’s 1678 series Proverbi Figurati. The first proverb roughly translates as ‘There’s no love without jealousy’, whilst the second says something to the effect of ‘He doesn't know peace, nor does he esteem it, who hasn’t first tried war.’ The eyes and ears patterning the dress of the personification of jealousy in the first image are a distinctive Mitellian flourish.

'Sol, è per questo il mondo in armi e in fuoco,' etching by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli, 1691.

The third image, above, dates from 1691, and is interesting to me for the way it prefigures another famous etching. Mitelli’s work in general seems to have exerted some indirect, grandfatherly influence on the work of Hogarth, Gillray, Cruickshank, etc., although its satire is seldom as vitriolic, and its caricatures less cruel than those in the later, English print-makers.

'Gioventù' etching by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli, 1686.

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'Vecchiezza' etching by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli, 1686.

The next pair of etchings (dating from 1686) contrast Gioventù (youth), with Vecchiezza (old age). In the former image, a blindfold Cupid presides over some youthful hi-jinks, while Death lurks behind a curtain in the background. In the latter etching, Father Time brings gifts, including spectacles, a walking-stick and an hourglass, to the elderly couple warming themselves at the fire.

'La Maschera...' etching by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli, 1688.

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'Mascherina...' etching by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli, 1692.

I’m not sure what exactly is going on in the two mask-themed images above: are they warning of the moral dangers of mask-wearing? The heading on the first, evidently cautionary in intent, reads ‘The mask: cause of many evils.’ And in the second we see a smaller, visor-type mask worn in the ‘English manner,’ a fashion, I presume, that Mitelli disapproved of. These etchings date from 1688 and 1692, respectively.

Etching by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli from his 1699 series 'Esemplare per disegnare.'

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Etching by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli from his 1699 series 'Esemplare per disegnare.'

The pair of images above are taken from a series of etchings entitled Essemplare per Disegnare (1699, presumably a model-book for would-be artists). In this series, the senses (as above), the four seasons and the three fates are exemplified. Lastly for now, below, is a ‘composed head’ entitled Son testa son paese, case e gente, ‘I am head, I am country, houses and people.’

'Son Testa Son Paese Case e Gente' etching by Giuseppe Maria Mitelli, 1702.

Click on the images to see them enlarged…

Posted by misteraitch at February 28, 2005 12:56 PM
Comments

Perhaps the mask etchings are warning that deceiving others (putting a mask on; a new personality..) is the manifestation of evil.
That deceiving people is wrong.

Posted by: Rebecca on June 11, 2005 08:31 PM

Masks allow people to release their inhibitions and behave in improper ways. this is what he's condemning.

Posted by: Ted on May 4, 2006 04:45 AM
Comments are now closed