Seeing a post about Giorgio Ghisi’s engraving Allegoria della Vita Umana (‘Allegory of Human Life,’ also known—like an earlier engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi—as ‘The Dream of Raphael’) at John Coulthart’s feuilleton weblog, led me to seek more information about this printmaker, and, ultimately, led me to buy a book about his work: Paolo Bellini’s L’opera Incisa de Giorgio Ghisi, published in 1998 by Tassotti Editore of Bassano del Grappa. The following images are details of scans of the works illustrated in this book.
Ghisi was born in Mantua in 1520, to which city his ancestors had moved from Parma a century before. Many in the Ghisi clan were notaries, while others, like Giorgio’s father Ludovico, were merchants. The engraver’s childhood and youth coincided with the construction and decoration of the Palazzo del Te, under the supervision of Giulio Romano. From about 1535, it is thought that Ghisi studied engraving with one Giovanni Battista Scultori, whose workshop was largely dedicated to reproducing Romano’s designs. Ghisi’s earliest known prints can be dated to the early 1540s.
Ghisi lived and worked in Rome for a few years in the late 1540s, where it is likely he met the renowned Flemish artist & printseller Hieronymus Cock. He relocated to Antwerp ca. 1550, to work at Cock’s print shop Au Quatre Vents (‘At the Four Winds’). From about 1554 Ghisi was in France, ‘working with Fontainebleau artists like Luca Penni and Primaticcio and presenting works by Giulio Romano, Raphael, and Michelangelo to Northern print-collectors and painters.’ Ghisi returned to Mantua in the late 1560s, where he remained until his death in 1582.
The present images are (i) ‘Silenus Sleeping,’ one of Ghisi’s earliest surviving prints, after a design by Giulio Romano; (ii) ‘The Vision of Ezekiel,’ which follows an original by Giovan Battista Bertani; (iii) ‘Venus Pricked by the Thorns on a Rose-Bush’ and (iv) ‘Apollo Among the Muses,’ both of which are modelled on works by Luca Penni; (v) ‘Allegory of Life’s Destiny,’ which is thought to be based on a lost design of Romano’s, and, (vi) ‘Hercules Resting After his Labours,’ which again carries the influence of Romano, but is meanwhile, in the detail of the landscape in the background, reminiscent of the work of Flemish painters such as Marten Heemskerck.Posted by misteraitch at October 21, 2007 04:13 PM