Portrait of Niccolò Paganini

Luigi Calamatta Italian
After Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres French
Sitter Niccolò Paganini Italian

Not on view

A long-time collaborator and friend of Ingres, Calamatta reproduced several of the artist’s compositions in elaborate burin engravings. In this case, Ingres supplied Calamatta with a traced and reversed drawing of Niccolò Paganini (43.85.10) to serve as a template for engraving his copper plate in the same direction. With expert precision, Calamatta used a burin to describe Paganini’s facial features and spiral his hair in intricate curls. In contrast, the sketchy appearance of the lower body is achieved with roulettes, engraving tools with small, spiked wheels, which are rolled over the metal plate to produce minutely stippled outlines. Once printed, these lines successfully imitate the modulated tone and texture of graphite. Calamatta used this technique of crayon-manner engraving to capture the spontaneity of Ingres’s original drawing.

Portrait of Niccolò Paganini, Luigi Calamatta (Italian, Civitavecchia 1801–1869 Milan), Engraving, stipple and roulette work on chine collé; third state of four

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