Retrato de Maria SS. del Rosario de la Ciudad de Cadiz que se venera en Iglesa del orden de Predicad…. REMONDINI.
A Devotional Engraving Relating to the Americas
And to the Tsunami Of Cadiz Of 1755
From The Italian Remondini Family of Printmakers
[Bassano], [Remondini], [18th century].

Retrato de Maria SS. del Rosario de la Ciudad de Cadiz que se venera en Iglesa del orden de Predicad….

Folio [38.4 x 23.6 cm], (1) single-sided engraving in contemporary hand-color. Very well preserved.

Rare 18th-century engraving – relating to the Spanish Flota de Indias and to the important naval port of Cadiz – printed by the renowned Remondini firm of printmakers, a company noted for aggressively expanding its print selling business far from its home base in the Veneto. The hand-colored print depicts the celebrated icon of the Nuestra Señora del Rosario at the Convent of Santo Domingo in Cadiz. This sacred statue of Virgin and Christ, along with a similar Marian sculpture known as La Galeona housed in the same church, were especially venerated as protectresses of the Indes Fleet and the sailors of who ventured from the port of Cadiz to the Americas. Waves are shown at the bottom of the print crashing against an altar where a priest and attendants officiate mass, a detail that refers (according to the engraved text at the foot of the engraving) to the Virgin’s miraculous interscession during the devastating tsunami in Cadiz triggered by the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. The priest depicted here is Thomas del Valle, Bishop of Cadiz (1684-1776), mentioned by name in text, who later wrote that the tsunami had been divine retribution against the city for the sins of the populace. Flanking the Marian icon are depictions of sculptues of San Servando and San Germán, child saints martyred in Cadiz during the reign of Diocletian who were commemorated in 1705 with statues placed atop columns at the Puerta del Mar (later relocated to the Plaza de la Constitución). The engraving also depicts Saint Dominic, a female Dominican Saint (Catherine of Siena?), and a view of Cadiz in the distance.

For more than two centuries the Remondini family operated a printmaking empire from the Veneto town of Bassano del Grappa. Founded in 1657, the Remondini firm focused on publishing a large quantity of prints of a modest quality intended to appeal to the tastes (and the limited financial means) of the increasingly literate middle and lower classes. By the 1730s the firm owned 38 presses and employed perhaps 1000 workers, making it one of the largest printing operations of the entire hand-press era. The Remondini contracted with a large numbers of traveling agents, salesmen and peddlers to disseminate their popular imagery far from their base in northern Italy. From about 1730 export to the Americas was formalized through agents working in the Iberian Peninsula, and recent archival research has shown that Remondini contracted salesmen from as far away as Albany, New York (Infelise, p. 111). The 1772 catalogue issued by the Remondini firm records single-sheet religious prints depicting local subjects from Greece to the Americas grouped together under the heading ‘francesine’ (Catalogo, p. xxiv and see Zanini, p. 74). Various lots of these prints (e.g., depicting crucifixes, Marian imagery, saints, etc.) could be bought uncolored or, at more than double the price, “painted with very fine colors … and decorated with gold and silver” (Catalogo, p. xxiv).

Although Remondini single-sheet prints of this sort were presumably produced in large quantities and over a long period of time, examples of individual subjects – especially relating to the Americas – are quite rare today, a fact certainly due to the fugitive nature of loose prints, their intended destination far from their place of printing, and the types of use for which they were intended (e.g., being tacked to the wall for private devotion).

* C. A. Zotti Mincini, Le stampe popolari dei Remondini, no. 1176; A. W. A. Boschloo, The Prints of the Remondinis: An Attempt to Reconstruct an Eighteenth-Century World of Pictures, C. M. H. Harrison, trans., esp. pp. 1–13; A. Milano. “‘Selling Prints for the Remondini’: Italian Pedlars Travelling through Europe during the Eighteenth Century,” in Not Dead Things: The Dissemination of Popular Print in England and Wales, Italy, and the Low Countries, 1500–1820, R. Harms, J. Raymond, and J. Salman, eds., pp. 75–96; M. Infelise, I Remondini di Bassano, Bassano, Tassotti, 1980; A. Zanini, Per la Germania e l’Ongheria: l’emigrazione temporanea dalle valli del Natisone; C. Chiesura, Tra iconografia e commercio: i Remondini e le stampe devozionali; Remondini, Catalogo delle stampe in rame e delle varie qualità de carte privilegiate (1772).

 

Price: $1,950.00

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