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Article

German, 18th century, male.

Active in Frankfurt am Mainc.1760.

Engraver (burin).

According to the German art historian Philipp Friedrich Gwinner ( Kunst und Künstler in Frankfurt am Main, 1862), Back lived for much of his life in Offenbach. His works are richly praised by Berny de Nogent in his book ...

Article

[il Sordino]

(b Bologna, Feb 23, 1740; d Bologna, May 5, 1815).

Italian painter, biographer, draughtsman and engraver. He was a pupil of Giuseppe Varotti (1715–80). While a student at the Accademia Clementina, Bologna, he received two awards, including the Premio Marsili for the Sacrifice of Noah (1758; Bologna, Accad. B.A. & Liceo A.). He pursued literary interests throughout his life and became a member of the avant-garde Accademia Letteraria degli ‘Ingomiti’ in Bologna in 1763. His early paintings, notably the St Francis de Sales (1764; Bologna, Ospizio dei Preti), continue the strict classical strain within the Bolognese figurative tradition; they show the influences of Ercole Graziani, Marc Antonio Franceschini and Donato Creti. Calvi primarily painted sacred subjects, receiving numerous, mainly local, commissions. From about 1770 onwards many pictures, including his superb Self-portrait (1770; Bologna, Pin. N.), became increasingly austere and Raphaelesque in both style and design, anticipating 19th-century Bolognese Neo-classicism. In 1766 he frescoed an Assumption of the Virgin...

Article

Danielle Rice

[Tubières de Grimoard de Pestels de Lévis, Anne-Claude-Philippe de]

(b Paris, Oct 31, 1692; d Paris, Sept 5, 1765).

French amateur engraver, antiquarian, patron and writer. Born into an old aristocratic family, he enjoyed all of the privileges of his class, including a large private income, free time, access to artists and collectors, and mobility. He entered the army and distinguished himself in battle at an early age. In 1714 he spent a year in Italy, where he developed a lifelong passion for the arts, especially for antiquities. After the death of Louis XIV in 1715, Caylus resigned his military post and shortly thereafter undertook a hazardous journey to Turkey. In pursuit of ancient sites rarely seen by European eyes at this time, he negotiated with the local bandit chieftain for safe passage to the ruins of Ephesos and Colophon.

In 1719 Caylus settled in Paris, where he remained with the exception of a brief trip to Holland and England in 1722. He began frequenting the weekly gatherings held by Pierre Crozat, a wealthy financier and collector. Crozat’s circle included many important artists as well as connoisseurs and aestheticians who met to study his extensive collection of Old Master paintings and drawings and to debate theories of art. In this lively company, Caylus developed his eye and learnt etching and engraving from the artist ...

Article

Christian Michel

(b Paris, March 19, 1730; d Paris, March 7, 1809).

French engraver, illustrator and writer. He came from a poor family and trained with Guillaume Dheulland (c. 1700–c. 1770) by drawing cartouches for maps. He also had lessons from Pierre-Edmé Babel, a goldsmith and designer of ornament. Having designed mainly cartouches, coats of arms and various types of ornament in the 1750s, he gained recognition as a designer of culs-de-lampe and fleurons, which were considered indispensable for all lavishly produced books. In particular, he produced 57 illustrations for La Fontaine’s Contes in the Fermiers Généraux edition (Paris, 1762) and 38 fleurons and culs-de-lampe for Ovid’s Metamorphoses in Lemire’s and Bassan’s edition (Paris, 1767–71). His long-standing acquaintance Charles-Nicolas Cochin II entrusted him with engraving two plates for the Conquêtes de l’Empereur de la Chine (1767–73; Roux, nos 227–8), an important series of large-scale prints on which the best French engravers were being employed. Large plates are, however, rare in Choffard’s oeuvre; he devoted himself mainly to book decoration, such as fleurons for the Abbé de Saint-Non’s ...

Article

James Yorke

[Mathias; Matthew]

(fl c. 1740–early 1770s).

English engraver, draughtsman and drawing-master. In 1748 his premises faced Old Slaughter’s Coffee House in St Martin’s Lane, London, a favourite meeting-place for adherents of the new Rococo style. His earliest known satirical print, the Cricket Players of Europe, is dated 1741.

In 1751 he issued A New-book of Chinese, Gothic & Modern Chairs, a slight publication on eight leaves. Twelve examples with bizarre backs were described as ‘Hall Chairs’ in a reissue of 1766, but it is more likely they were intended for gardens and summer-houses. A shell-back chair (Stratford-on-Avon, Nash’s House) corresponding to one of the designs was made for the Chinese temple erected at Stratford for the Shakespeare jubilee organized by David Garrick in 1769. Five plates from a second book of chairs (c. 1751), of which no copy survives, were apparently reprinted in Robert Manwaring’s The Chair-maker’s Guide (1766). Described as ‘Parlour Chairs’, they incorporate extravagant C-scroll motifs in the backs....

Article

Claire Baines

(b Paris, 1734; d Paris, Oct 11, 1789).

French decorative designer, engraver and architect. In 1747 he was apprenticed to the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Poullet (d 1775), but he seems not to have completed his apprenticeship. By 1767 he styled himself ‘architecte et professeur pour le dessin’. In 1768 he published the first volume of his most important work, the Nouvelle iconologie historique. It contains 110 plates, nearly all engraved by Delafosse himself, with designs for furniture, decorative objects and architectural ornament in the heavy, classicizing, Louis XVI style. In addition, each design bears a particular, usually complex, symbolic or iconological meaning, pertaining to an almost encyclopedic range of subject-matter. In some of his designs he manipulated abstract shapes in new ways, using such forms as truncated columns, cones, pyramids, spheres, discs and rectangles, sometimes carefully shaded to appear simultaneously three-dimensional and flat. His compositional methods were characteristic of the most revolutionary architectural designs of the period, such as those of Etienne-Louis Boullée and Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. In these images he used discrepancies of size, employing Piranesi’s device of juxtaposing tiny human figures with immense architectural elements, sometimes heavily rusticated to emphasize the contrast further; reversals of weight and balance; and spatial ambiguities, playing off three-dimensional objects against two-dimensional shapes. He divorced familiar architectural elements—the base of a column, a pediment, a single Ionic volute—from their usual functions and placed them in new and witty contexts....

Article

Ismael Gutiérrez Pastor

(b Villena, Alicante, c. 1645; d Madrid, June 28, 1717).

Spanish painter, engraver and writer. He began his training in Murcia with Nicolás de Villacis (c. 1618–94) and Mateo Gilarte (c. 1620–after 1680), who both worked in a naturalist and tenebrist style. He travelled to Rome in the 1660s and came into contact with the Italian Baroque, especially the work of Pietro da Cortona and Carlo Maratti. On his return he was first in Valencia, where the work of Jerónimo Jacinto Espinosa became a strong influence. Towards 1674 he established himself in Madrid, where he entered the circle of Juan Carreño de Miranda.

García Hidalgo’s numerous paintings were frequently signed, and he painted a good many for the Augustinian Order in Madrid, Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Santiago de Compostela and Sigüenza (e.g the Vision of St Augustine, 1680; Sigüenza Cathedral), and for the Carmelite Order in Alba de Tormes, Peñaranda de Bracamonte and Segovia (e.g. the ...

Article

Christian Michel

(b Paris, 1741; d Paris, Nov 18, 1804).

French engraver and writer. He trained as a reproductive engraver with Pierre-François Basan and later with Jacques-Philippe Lebas but soon turned to small-scale engraving. He specialized in the extremely meticulous execution of small portraits; he made more than 100 of these, the most popular being those of Marie Leczinska, Queen of France (1768; Pognon and Bruand, no. 40) after Jean-Marc Nattier and the portrait of the Comtesse du Barry (1770; pb 45) after Hubert Drouais. His greatest work was the Crowning of the Bust of Voltaire at the Comédie Française (pb 154) after a drawing by Jean-Michel Moreau (i) (1778; Cambridge, Fitzwilliam), on which he worked from 1778 to 1782. Gaucher was also a writer on theory and wrote several articles on engravers for the Abbé de Fontenai’s Dictionnaire des artistes as well as obituaries of Lebas and Jean-Jacques Flipart for the Journal de Paris and several polemical writings in defence of engraving. The Académie des Sciences asked him to write a treatise on the art of engraving; he abandoned this at the onset of the French Revolution, and only his ...

Article

British, 18th century, male.

Born 4 June 1724, in Scaleby Castle, near Carlisle; died 5 April 1804, in Boldre (Hampshire).

Painter, draughtsman, engraver, illustrator, theorist. Landscapes, topographical views.

William Gilpin was the brother of Sawrey Gilpin and studied at Queen's College, Oxford. He taught at Cheam School near Sutton ...

Article

Andrea M. Kluxen

(b Hamburg, Feb 14, 1712; d Dresden, Jan 25, 1780).

German diplomat, theorist, collector and etcher. The brother of the poet Friedrich von Hagedorn (1708–54), from 1735 he served in the Saxon diplomatic service. Travelling through Germany and Austria, he met and corresponded with several artists and art theorists, including Johann Joachim Winckelmann, J. G. Sulzer and Salomon Gessner. His collection of paintings and drawings—primarily Dutch and German 17th- and 18th-century work, especially landscapes—became famous, and his advice on art matters was widely appreciated. In 1764 he became director of the Saxon art collections and art schools in Dresden.

Hagedorn’s Lettre à un amateur de la peinture avec des éclairissements historiques … (Dresden, 1755), combining a description of his collection with biographies of 18th-century artists, was, according to its author, a continuation of the Teutsche Academie by Joachim von Sandrart; it remains an important source for art history. The Betrachtungen über die Mahlerey (Leipzig, 1762) and numerous essays that appeared in the ...