Italian Copper Plate Engraving

From a set of five, this fine copper plate engraving by Giovanni Ottaviani and Giovanni is hand colored in gouache.

Originally inspired by the monumental commission of Pope Leo X to have Raphael decorate the loggia of his private apartments completed in 1519, this engraving represents one of the most luxurious engraved undertakings of the 18th century.

Begun in 1518 and taking two years to complete, Raphael covered the loggia’s walls and ceilings with painted ornament in the antique style mixing formal and grotesque elements after a rebirth of interest in classical art. The loggia became known as “Raphael’s Bible” not only for its religious references but for the inventive quality of decoration.

In the 1760s, a second project was undertaken under the patronage of Pole Clement XIV to copy these already deteriorating

The project probably begun in the 1760′s under the patronage of Pope Clement XIV, sought to copy the already deteriorating frescoes of Raphael. The craftsmen employed included the painter Gaetano Savorelli, the draughtsman Ludovico Teseo, the architect Pietro Camporesi, and the engravers Giovanni Ottaviani and Giovanni Volpato. Wherever the frescoes were too badly damaged to recreate, designs from Raphael’s frescoes were used in their place. The result is another amalgam of classical design elements, though the 18th century engravings remain relatively true to Raphael’s original work.