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Ad Testem in judicio: A Spectacular Lunette from the Vatican Loggia by Raphael, 1772-1774

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  • Title: Ad Testem in judicio
  • Author: Giovanni Ottaviani 
  • Date: 1772-1774
  • Condition: See bottom of description
  • Inches: 25 x 22 [Image]
  • Centimeters: 63.5 x 55.88 [Image]
  • Product ID: 308151

Superb contemporary colored engraved plates, printed in taupe ink on two joined sheets, designed originally by the painter Gaetano Savorelli (d.1791), drawn by the architect Pietro Camporesi (1726-1781), and here engraved by Giovanni Ottaviani (1735-1808), with privilege from Pope Clement XIV (1705-1774).

Rafael Sanzio da Urbino (1483 - 1520), better known in English as Raphael, left Florence for Rome, presumably because he had heard that there were private rooms in the Vatican, then under Pope Julius II, that needed redecorating. In 1509, he was commissioned for one of the rooms. He was very successful, and quickly became second only to Michelangelo, the most important artist in the Vatican. He would remain there for the rest of his short life. Raphael and his assistants made the wall and ceiling paintings in the Loggia of the Vatican in 1518-1519.

Raphael’s Loggia attained the height of its fame when Ottaviani and his compatriots combined to reproduce its decorative elements in 1772.   Their efforts introduced the glory and sophistication of Rafael’s Greek and Roman inspired motifs to a much wider audience. The exquisite engravings presented an amalgam of Raphael's design elements, as the original frescoes had decayed and were not always visible. The result appealed greatly to the royal tastes at the end of the 18th century and laid the foundation for the wide appeal of the grotesques, swag, and garlands of the Neo-classical period.  When Catherine II of St. Petersburg  saw the work of Ottaviani, she immediately commissioned a complete set of reproductions on canvas, which today hang in the New Hermitage museum.  Marie Antoinette was so taken with the iconography she had her jewel casket decorated in the same style.  King Charles IV of Spain decorated his hunting lodge with the imagery, Sweden’s King Gustav III used them in an antechamber of his azure pavilion in Haga Park, and many other nobles decorated their palaces with the engravings.

These are the finest contemporary hand colored examples we have seen and will surely please a modern audience with their classic, timeless appeal and unparalleled execution.


Nicole Dacos, The Loggia of Raphael, A Vatican Art Treasure, 2008


The finest hand color we have seen, on the most appealing age toned paper imaginable.  Some with scattered minor abrasions.  About perfect.