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Chiaroscuro woodcut print of the Triumph of the Christian Hero by Andrea Andreani

Image of Chiaroscuro woodcut print of the Triumph of the Christian Hero by Andrea Andreani

The Triumph of the Christian Hero

Andrea Andreani, after Battista Franco Veneziano
Mantua, Italy; 1590
Woodcut printed in black with tonal embellishments
Approximate size: 36.3 x 28.7 cm (trimmed just outside the block)

This elaborate and crowded composition finds its strength in its fine details elaborating the triumph of virtue over vice. The print’s protagonist is observed vanquishing representations of sin in the composition’s lower-right while being blessed by Christ in the upper half of the sheet.

Although not present on the current print, the rarer complete example features printed text circumnavigating the scene as well as a descriptive summary beneath, altogether informing of the scene’s dedication to Ludovico Gonzaga in Mantua during the year 1590.

The print follows an earlier woodcut broadside of 1555, printed in Latin and Italian editions in Venice by the publisher, Michele Tramezzino. The scenes motif followed a design by Battista Franco Veneziano whose preparatory sketch for the composition survives in the Morgan Library (Inv. 1982.39).

El Greco would later also reference this composition in his Modena triptych of 1568 (Galleria Estense in Modena).

Provenance: from a private Norwegian collection