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120 Main Street, Upton MA 01568-6193

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Last updated: 6/23/2019
Home / Gallery Tour 1 / Master Drawings and Prints / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists
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Giorgio Ghisi (Italian, 1520-1582)

Netherlandish School 15th-17th-Century Drawings / Flemish School, 17th-Century
Bernaert van Orley / Lucas van Leyden / Jan Baptiste de Wael / Peter Paul Rubens
Philipp Sadeler / Rembrandt School

Netherlandish Printmakers 16th-17th Centuries: Lucas van Leyden, Maarten van Heemskerck, Cornelis Cort
Phillips Galle, Hans (Jan) Collaert, Adriaen Collaert, Karel de Mallery, Theodore Galle, Hendrik Goltzius
Julius Goltzius, Jacob Matham, Jan Sanraedam, Maarten de Vos, Jan Sadeler, Aegidius Sadeler, Raphael Sadeler
Crispin de Passe, Magdalena de Passe, Wierix Brothers, Rembrandt, Rembrandt School, Jan Lievens, Jan Joris van Vliet,
Ferdinand Bol, Govert Flinck

De Vos Old Testament Women 1 / De Vos Old Testament Women 2 / De Vos New Testament Women

North Italian Illuminated Manuscript / Italian School, 16th and early 17th-Century Drawings
Cherubino Alberti / Michelangelo Buonarotti (After) / Annibale Carracci / Parmigianino / Marcantonio Raimondi
Giulio Romano / Jacopo Palma il Giovane / Andrea Schiavone / Tintoretto / Titian (after) / Veronese / Federico Zuccaro

Italian School, 17th-Century Drawings / Simone Cantarini / Domenichino / Guercino / Pier Francesco Mola

Italian School Printmakers, 15th-17th Centuries: Venetian School, c. 1500 / Raphael School / Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio
Marcantonio Raimondi / The Master of the Die / Anea Vico / Agostino Veneziano / Nicholas Beatrizet
Michelangelo Buonarotti (After) / Giulio Bonasone / Giovanni Battista Franco /Girolamo Fagiuoli / Cherubino Alberti
Titian (after) / Tintoretto (after) / Parmigianino / Giorgio Ghisi / Diana Scultori / Annibale Carracci / Ludovico Carracci
Simone Cantarini / Elisabetta Sirani / Gerolamo Scarsello

German Drawings: Hans Sebald Beham / Virgil Solis / Hans von Aachen / Joseph Heinrich Roos

18th-Century Drawings / 19th-Century Drawings / 20th-Century Drawings
In his wonderful essay on Mannerism, John Shearman defines Mannerism as "the stylish style" (p. 19), a style "drenched in maniera and, conversely should not be marked by qualities inimical to it, such as strain, brutality, violence, and overt passion. We require, in fact, poise, refinement, and sophistication, and works of art that are polished, rarified, and idealized away from the natural: hot-house plants, cultured most carefully. Mannerism should, by tradition, speak a silver-tongued language of articulate, if unnatural beauty." Giorgio Ghisi was a professional engraver, probably trained in the workshop of Giovanni Battista Scultori in Mantua along with Diana and Adamo Scultori, the children of the master. Of this group, Ghisi was the most important. The initial job of the workshop was to reproduce the works of Giulio Romano, superintendent of all artistic works at the court of Duke Federigo Gonzaga (1500-1540) of Mantua, and the Duke's chief painter and architect of his new palace. Before coming to Mantua in 1524, Giulio had been Raphael's chief assistant in Rome and had seen the advantage of having an engraver who could make his works known across Europe by engraving his drawings and designs for paintings. Marcantonio Raimondi and his artists performed this task for Raphael; Giovanni Battista Scultori and his artists did the same for Giulio. As Diane deGrazia points out in her review of the Boorsch, Lewis, Lewis catalogue raisonné of Ghisi's engravings (in Print Quarterly 2 (1985), 318-320, "Ghisi was a reproductive engraver in a period when reproductive engraving wasa considered an art form. Not only did he skillfully replicate the forms of his models, he went further in in varying the formats and embellishings of the surroundings" (320). Ghisi's works, six of which are included in Bruce Davis, Mannerist Prints: International Style in the 16th Century, are immediately different from those of his associates in Mantua: they triumphantly manage to reproduce an image, convey a sense of the style of the inventor of the image and simultaneously establish a maniera that is distinctively Ghisi's own (compare two of Ghisi's engravings after Giovanni Battista Scultori with one by Scultori himself: Ghisi's two engravings are at once precise and clear, using contrast to organize the varied scenes within each work; Scultori dramatizes the scene, but lacks the sense of design that makes Ghisi's seem distinctively his own.

Ghisi left Mantua during the mid-1540s and went to Rome where he worked with the publisher Antoni Lafreri, the leading print publisher in Rome. Toward the end of the 1540s, Ghisi was invited to Antwerp by Hieronymous Cock, whose Aux Quattre Vents / Shop of the Four Winds became the center of Northern Mannerism until his death, publishing drawings by Maerten Heemskerk and Pieter Bruegel engraved by artists like Phillips Galle (who succeeded him as the leading publisher in Antwerp after Cock's death).

Ghis was in France from the mid-1550s until the late 1560s, working with Fontainebleaue artists like Luca Penni and Primaticcio and presenting works by Giulio Romano, Raphael, and Michelangelo to Northern print collectors and painters and offering Northern engravers a chance to become familar with the most advanced Italian engraving techniques. Ghis returned to Mantua in 1567 and remained there until his death.

Selected Bibliography: ; Paolo Bellini, L'Opera Incisa Giorgio Ghisi (Bassano del Grappa: Tassotti Editore, 1998); Suzanne Boorsch & John T. Spike, The Illustrated Bartsch 31: Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century. G.B. Ghisi, G. Ghisi, A. Ghisi, D. Ghisi, Monogrammists, Reverdino, Pornedello, L. de Musi, Sannuti, G. de Musi, Cartaro, Lulmus (NY: Abaris Books, 1986); Suzanne Boorsch, Michal and R.E. Lewis, The Engravings of Giogio Ghisi. Ed. Michal and R.E. Lewis (NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985); Bruce Davis, Mannerist Prints: International Style in the 16th Century (LA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1988); Stefania Massari, Incisori mantovani del '500: Giovan Battista, Adamo, Diana Scultori e Giorgio Ghisi dalle collezioni del gabinetto nazionale delle stampe e della calcografia nazionale. Mostra fatta a Roma nel dic. 1980 e genn. 1981 (Roma: De Luca, 1980); Lucia Fornari Schianchi, ed. Parmigianino e Il Manierismo Europeo: Atti Del Convegno Internazionale Di Studi Parma,13-15 Giugno 2002 (Milano: Silvana Editoriale, 2002 ); John Shearman, Mannerism (NY: Penguin, 1967, 1973); Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects, 4 vols (London: Everyman's Library, 1963; Vasari's life of Giulio can be found in vol 3, pp. 97-111).
Venus, and Vulcan Seated on a Bed (Bartsch 35, Boorsch, Lewis, and Lewis 18 iii). Engraving after Perino del Vaga, c. 1550. Our impression is from an edition published in Rome in the 17th Century. Venus lectures Cupid while two other putti surround Venus. Signed GMF [Girgio Mantua Fecit] on the tablet on the edge of the first stair at right. Image size: 290x205mm. Price: $4200.
Venus and Adonis (Bartsch 42, Boorsch, Lewis, and Lewis 42 vi/vii). Engraving after Teodoro Ghisi, Giorgio's younger brother, c. 1570. Our impression is from an edition published in Rome in the 17th Century. Inscribed Teodoro Ghisi In on the tablet at left and GMF by the rocks beneath the putto playing with a rabbit left center. A good impression with wide margins on laid paper. The most important of Ghisi's 65 prints. Ex collection Kunsthalle, Hamburg (L. 685 & 12328). Image size: 312x224mm. Price: $4500.
Venus and Vulcan at the Forge (Bartsch 54, Boorsch, Lewis, and Lewis 19 iv). Engraving after Perino del Vaga, mid 1550s. Our impression is from an edition published in Rome in the 17th Century. Inscribed "PIRINVS IN" bottom center, "Gio: Jacobo Rossi formis Romae all Pace" in italics lower right and "GMF" lower left. A very good impression trimmed on or within the platemark on laid paper. Venus comforts Cupid with her left had while holding an arrow on Vulcan's forge so that he can make a new head for it while two putti help with the forging. Image size: 190x311mm. Price: SOLD.
Venus , Two Other Goddesses, and Two Putti (Bartsch 49, Boorsch, Lewis, and Lewis 31 i/iii). Engraving after Priamticcio, 1560s. A rich dark impression trimmed within the placemark. Inscribed "FRAN. BOL. IN" and "G. MF"bottom center."This print is based upon Primaticcio's designs for the ceiling of the Galerie d'Ulysse at Fontainebleau. Ghisi probably worked from Primaticcio's preparatory drawings and not from the ceiling itself. Image size: 188x242mm. Price: $3750.
Juno, Two Other Goddesses, and Two Putti (Bartsch 50, Boorsch, Lewis, and Lewis 32 i/iii). Engraving after Priamticcio, 1560s. A rich dark impression trimmed within the placemark. Inscribed "FRAN. BOL. IN" and "G. MF"bottom center."This print is based upon Primaticcio's designs for the ceiling of the Galerie d'Ulysse at Fontainebleau. Ghisi probably worked from Primaticcio's preparatory drawings and not from the ceiling itself. Image size: 187x247mm. Price: $3750.

Spaightwood Galleries, Inc.

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