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October 14, 2022

Acquisition: Major Two Volume Illustrated Book by Giorgio Fossati

Giorgio Fossati, "Raccolta di Varie Favole delineate ed incise in Rame"

Giorgio Fossati
Raccolta di Varie Favole delineate ed incise in rame, 1744
six volumes in two, with three etched headpieces and 216 etchings printed in colors, bound in full contemporary Venetian vellum
each book: 29.5 x 20.5 cm (11 5/8 x 8 1/16 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Eugene L. and Marie-Louise Garbáty Fund
2021.29.1

Giorgio Fossati (1705–1785), born in Switzerland but active in Italy, was an architect, writer, stage designer, draftsman, and printmaker. The National Gallery of Art has acquired Raccolta di Varie Favole delineate ed incise in rame (1744), a book that was issued in six parts and bound in two volumes featuring letterpress text and 216 full-page illustrations. The first major work by Fossati to enter the National Gallery's collection, these volumes feature their original 18th-century Venetian vellum binding boards and illustrations inked and printed in a different color, including hues of red, blue, and green. Fossati's etchings depicting the fables of Aesop and Jean de La Fontaine targeted an international audience with text written in Italian as well as French—the cosmopolitan language of the 18th century. Some of Fossati's images reference earlier printed works, including Albrecht Dürer's woodcut The Rhinoceros (1515).

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