1704 Rossi - Agrippina wife of Claudius - large 48 cm engraving
Large folio size 330 year old Copperplate engraved by Aquila publ. By Domenico Rossi.
Page size 48 x 35 cm
Fine hand color.
Excellent with some marginal spotting.
In 1704 the Roman publisher Domenico de Rossi published a large, handsome and lavishly illustrated volume devoted principally to the ancient statues of Rome. To comment on the plates he commissioned a text from the antiquarian Paola Alessandro Maffei. Through his uncle, Maffei was very closely linked to French interests in the city and the majority of draughtsmen and engravers employed in the enterprise were French, who played a preponderant role in spreading knowledge about the appearance of antique sculpture. De Rossi deliberately set out to illustrate the most highly esteemed statues, though he included also some of lesser quality because of the interest of their subject matter. In its attempt to set up qualitative standards his book was the most authoritative that had yet appeared and it showed little of the waywardness of the earlier anthologies that preceded it. Although Maffei's text was learned enough, the publication as a whole - like the Gemmae Antiche Figurate which followed it three years later - was designed for the cultivated art lover, and, unlike the thin folio published by Francois Perrier seventy years earlier, a few independent artists or craftsmen could have afforded to buy it.