- Also known as
primary name: Villamena, Francesco
- individual; printmaker; designer; academic/intellectual; dealer/auction house; Roman; Italian; Male
- Life dates
- Engraver, designer, drawing teacher, dealer in antiquities, from Assisi. Francesco Villamena, b. Assisi (Baglione) c.1565, d. Rome 7 July 1624 (Thieme-Becker) aged about 60 according to Baglione, who says that he came to Rome during the papacy of Sixtus V (1585-90). Active in Rome. The earliest dated engravings by him that we have found are those illustrating B. Catani's 'Pompa Funerale' of Sixtus, Rome, 1591. From 1604 recorded in Accademia di S. Luca (Thieme-Becker).
A 10-year papal privilege covering his entire future output of prints, was granted to him on 8 October 1596 (Leuschner). 1601, 'Gli sfrenati', engr. inscribed with V.'s name as "inventor", does not say that the original was a painting, although at least four paintings of this composition are recorded (see Cat. Salzburg Residenzgalerie, 1970, no. 198).
Member of the Compagnia di San Luca in 1604 and 1607. Cassiano dal Pozzo and Vincenzo Giustiniani acted as godparents to his children (Kühn-Huttenhauer, 1979, p.23). In 1619-20 he was described as living in the 'Salzata della Trinita' or alternatively as in 'Piazza della Trinita all'insu'. He was a well-known collector and put together a collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, noted by Baglione and in part inventoried after his death (Camiz).
He was regarded very highly as a retoucher of old plates, e.g. the set of plates of the reliefs on Trajan's column, republished in 1616. He engraved plates for others, including Thomassin, Stefanoni, Clodio, Benedetto De Claro, Florimi and Rascicotti. He designed many of his own plates and published them himself. The fact that a series of engravings after Raphael's Logge was published shortly after his death (Mariette, 'Abecedario', ed. Chennevières and Montaiglon, Paris, 1851-60, vi, p. 77; Gori Gandellini, 'Notizie degli Intagliatori', Siena, 1808-16, xv, p. 57) suggests that he was active until the end of his life. A printing press was among his possessions at the time of his death.
- Mariette, Abecedario, VI pp.76-82 (important source)
D.Kühn-Hattenhauer, 'Das graphische Oeuvre von FV', Berlin 1979 (monograph with catalogue)
M. Bury, 'The Print in Italy 1550-1625', British Museum, London 2001, p.236
Gere & Pouncey 1983
Thieme-Becker (1940), with previous bibliography; C.A. Petrucci, Catalogo generale delle stampe tratte dai rami incisi posseduti dalla Calcografia Nazionale, Rome 1953; A. Petrucci, Il Caravaggio acquafortista, Rome, 1956.