GHISI, Giorgio (1520-82):

The Visitation , after Francesco Salviati

Engraving, c. 1540-50. Lewis, Lewis and Boorsch 10, fourth state of six, with the name of Lafreri erased but before that of Rossi, or later Losi
Watermark: Pilgrim in circle with star (L, L & B 55; Briquet 7578)
Provenance: Unidentified (Lugt 896); Somerville & Simpson 1970’s; Dr.Eric Stanley (not in Lugt)

A fine, three-dimensional impression, with small margins on three sides, trimmed on the platemark at left, but with a narrow plate margin all round. In nearly perfect condition. 322 x 502mm.

This striking print sets the encounter of two women, the Virgin Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, exchanging intimate news of their respective pregnancies, in the midst of a crowded scene with both onlookers and people going about their business. Based on a fresco by Francesco Salviati painted for the oratorio of San Giovanni Decollato in Rome, the engraving's differences suggest it may have made use of an intermediate design which Ghisi could have acquired during his trip to Rome in the 1540's. The influential fresco was interpreted by two other early engravers, one the contemporary Bartolomeo Passaroti (in the reverse), the other by the next-generation Netherlandish engraver Jacob Matham.