- Museum number
The Annunciation with Prophets and music-making angels, after Federico Zuccaro. 1572
- Production date
Height: 466 millimetres (very damaged)
Width: 679 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Text from Michael Bury, 'The Print in Italy 1550-1620', BM 2001 cat.75)
This copy of Cort's engraving after Federico Zuccaro (see 1917-12-8-675) is by Girolamo Olgiati and is dated 1572. It is in the same direction as the original and has Lafreri's name and his dedication to Granvelle almost exactly as in the original. However it carries the Venetian address of Luca Bertelli. Olgiati copied other engravings by or attributed to Cort, which were published by Luca Bertelli, notably the Creation of Eve after Federico Zuccaro, 1574 (New Hollstein 1b) and the St Jerome in Penitence, 1573 (New Hollstein 117a).
The present copy is of the greatest interest because of the conjunction of the names of Lafreri and Bertelli. The most likely explanation for this is that Bertelli had Lafreri's agreement for the making of a copy. The Roman print dealer must have made some kind of arrangement with the Venetian, so that Bertelli would be able to meet Venetian demand for impressions by printing from a plate that he held himself. This would have avoided the need to import printed impressions, thus eliminating transportation costs and customs duties. We know that printsellers preferred to print from plates to meet specific demand, rather than to carry large stocks of impressions. Either the profits on sales will have been shared between the Roman and the Venetian, or some alternative quid pro quo worked out. This situation was almost certainly not unique.
If Lafreri licensed a copy of one of his plates, this may help to explain the fact that he himself seems to have commissioned replicas of his original plate. The New Hollstein identifies three different versions of the Annunciation virtually identical to each other, all accepted as by Cort (New Hollstein 20, 21 and 22). Only the first carries Cort's signature, but each of them has Lafreri's dedication to Cardinal Granvelle. They can most easily be discriminated by the spelling and distribution of the letters of the word 'emisit' in the inscription in the upper right corner. The source for Olgiati's copy was probably New Hollstein 22.
In the Lafreri stocklist of 1573 only one of these plates appears to be listed: 'Annunciata di Federico' (Ehrle, 1908, p.57, l.329). This raises the question of what happened to the others. There is evidence that Lafreri formed partnership agreements with others in the print business. The dissolution of such an arrangement with Adamo Scultori in Rome is recorded in detail in documents of March to April 1576 (Masetti Zannini, 1980, pp.262-70). Copperplates, as well as printed impressions, were held jointly by the partners. The business of the partnership was conducted from a shop whose location, unfortunately, is not specified but which was clearly separate from Lafreri's own establishment in the Parione. This is the kind of context within which it would have been useful to have had replica plates for prints that were in demand.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001/2 Sep-Jan, BM. P&D, The Print in Italy 1550-1620, cat.75
2002 Feb-Mar, New York, Miriam & Ira D Wallach AG, The Print in Italy
2002/3 Sep-Jan, Ottawa, NG of Canada, The Print in Italy 1550-1620
2003 Feb-Apr, Edinburgh, NG of Scotland, The Print in Italy 1550-1620
- Acquisition date
- 1837 (before)
- Acquisition notes
- No indication of provenance on the verso
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number