A man wearing a mask drinking a cup of coffee (Le Masque au Caffé), Title page to 'Divers Portraits'

Artist: Giovanni David (Italian, Cabella Ligure 1749–1790 Genoa)

Date: 1775

Medium: Etching and aquatint

Dimensions: plate: 9 5/16 x 6 1/2 in. (23.7 x 16.5 cm)
sheet: 15 5/16 x 10 13/16 in. (38.9 x 27.5 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1979

Accession Number: 1979.525.1


Most of Giovanni David's etchings that were published by his Genoese patron in Venice are infused with the sophistication and theatricality that characterized the city's culture in the eighteenth century. This print is the frontispiece to a series of twelve prints, the 'Divers Portraits'. All of the types shown are characteristic of Venice and its environs. Inscribed with French poems on society's customs and morals drawn from the works of the French satirist Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux. Here, we see a masked reveler taking refreshment in one of the coffeehouses first introduced in the eighteenth century. The series is dedicated to Domenico Corvi, David's teacher in Rome.