Mattia Jona, Master Drawings and Prints, Japanese Prints - Piazzetta Guastalla 5, 20122 Milan, Italy, tel (+39) 02 8053315

Giorgio Ghisi, Silenus, a satyr and a goat


Engraving, after Giulio Romano, about 1540. M. and R.E. Lewis 3. Very good impression of the only state, trimmed to the platemark, minor flaws, generally in good condition. 200 x 307 mm.
As noted by M. and R.E. Lewis the print reproduces a scene from a tondo on the southern wall of the Loggia of the Grotto in the Palazzo del Te. Ghisi made two other prints after scenes in the Loggia of the Grotto. In the eighteenth century, the French collector Pierre-Jean Mariette owned the drawing by Giulio Romano for this fresco…….As the dimensions of the figures in they drawing and the print are virtually identical, Ghisi may well have worked directly from the drawing The drawing is now at the Louvre.

Giorgio Ghisi was the son of Ludovico Ghisi, a merchant whose family had lived in Mantua for more than two hundred years. Ghisi's artistic training is not documented, but he is thought to have learned engraving from Giovanni Battista Scultori. His earliest works are engravings after Giulio Romano, the dominant artistic figure in Mantua. At some time during the pontificate of Paul III (1536-49) Ghisi visited Rome, where four of his prints were published by Antonio Lafreri. In 1549 or 1550 he went to Antwerp, where he worked for Hieronymous Cock and Volcxken Diericx, the founders of Aux Quatre Vents, the largest print publisher in Northern Europe. In 1551 Ghisi joined the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke as a copperplate engraver. In addition to prints Ghisi executed also damascened metalworks and one of the only two surviving pieces of damascened armor known to have been engraved by him is a shield signed and dated 1554. Giorgio Ghisi returned to Mantua in the late 1560s. In the last few years of his life he was employed as keeper of jewels and precious metals, and overseer of the wardrobe, to the ruling family of Mantua, the Gonzagas.


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