NICOLÒ DELLA CASA
(Probably born in Lorrain, active in Rome 1543-1547)
Baccio Bandinelli, about 1545
Engraving after the self-portrait by Bandinelli in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence
294 x 220 mm.; 10 9/16 x 8 5/8 inches
- A superb, well-contrasted impression. Small margins around the full plate, the overall impression is very beautiful and harmonious.
- Little is known about Nicolò della Casa. Like his contemporary, Nicolas Beatrizet, della Casa (his name is most probably the Italian version of de la Maison) appears to be a “northern printmaker” in that he probably came from Lorraine but then was active in Rome around 1543-1547. He worked for such publishers as Antonio Salamanca and Antonio Lafreri.
- The present etching is based on the painted self-portrait by Bandinelli in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, a work erroneously attributed by Vasari to Enea Vico. Bandinelli, whose proud features are intended to suggest the physiognomy of the artist’s competitor, Michelangelo, is shown three-quarters length in his secluded, sparsely furnished studio. He has the appearance of a humanist, a creative person, a connoisseur. With evident self-confidence, he wears the medal of St. James – a shell with a cross – bestowed on him by the emperor Charles V. Bandinelli’s right hand rests on a modello or a copy after an antique sculpture. Other small statues identify the artist as a sculptor. The determined, searching expression which the artist fixes upon the viewer, and the dynamic forward movement of his body, as well as the nonchalant, self-assured position of his left hand, together convey an appearance of power, virility and civility.
- The fact that indeed this is a portrait of Baccio Bandinelli is re-affirmed by the very similar and marking features of Bandinelli’s sculpted Autoportrait in the Louvre (Departement des Sculptures, Musée du Louvre, Inv. RF 129). This latter sculpture was exhibited in conjunction with the recent exhibit at the Louvre (Baccio Bandinelli, Carel van Tuyll van Serooskerken, Cabinet des Dessins, The Louvre, Paris, 2008: p. 2, frontispiece of catalogue).