Etchings of Tintoretto and Van Laer
These two portraits depict noteworthy artists of the 16th and 17th century respectively. On the left, is a depiction of Jacopo Robusti (1518–1594), known as Tintoretto, an Italian master associated with the Venetian School and working in the Mannerist style. The other image represents Pieter van Laer (1599–1641), a Dutch artist who was active in Rome for the greater part of his career and was known for genre scenes and landscapes. These prints were made by Francesco Mari Francia (1657–1735) after designs by Giovanni Domenico Ferretti (1692–1768). Both these artists were born in Italy and produced a variety of works on paper. Each of these prints appears to have been modeled after self-portraits created by Tintoretto and Van Laer respectively. Parallels can be drawn between the oil on canvas self-portrait Tintoretto produced around 1585 (now housed at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy) and the current print of the artist. In each case, the sitter holds books in his left hand and a quill in the other. The figure’s facial features are also a point of comparison in the two works. Similarly, the portrait of Van Laer takes a panel painting self-portrait by the Dutch artist dating from around 1630–1635 (Uffizi Gallery) as its source of reference. Van Laer’s distinctive features – his brushy, upturned mustache, short beard, slim nose, and shaggy haircut – are evident in the original design and in Francia’s print. The present portraits were likely produced in the early 18th century and remain highly collectible items as images representing the likenesses of some of the most famous artists of the Renaissance and Baroque.
At this time in England, the English parliament released a coal tax in 1711 to finance new churches for the city of London. The growth of London and its surroundings led to the Commission for Building Fifty New Churches. Although the organization did not achieve its lofty target, a number of churches were built over the next twenty years, most of which remain architectural landmarks of the metropolis today.