VILLAMENA, Francesco
(b. 1564, Assisi, d. 1624, Roma)

The Gardener

c. 1600
Engraving, 321 x 203 mm
Museo Civici d'Arte e Storia, Brescia

The sad gardener in Villamena's print declares: 'with craftiness and with intelligence have I survived hunger and grief.'

Villamena made engravings of street characters. Works such as The Gardener, The Ink Seller, The Roast-Chestnut Seller, stimulated Jacques Callot's etchings of such figures, and these in turn inspired Rembrandt and Hollar. Villamena's engraving style of open parallel lines which cross in the shadows is derived from Cornelius Cort. It was taken up by Claude Mellan during his visit to Rome, and Mellan's purified version of the technique became widespread in mid-seventeenth century Paris.

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