Pair of oval portraits of young women, eyes gazing upwards, engraved by Thomas Cheesman after the Italian painter Domenichino. One young woman has a garland of flowers in her blonde hair, probably intended as an allegory for spring or summer. The other wears a white turban, probably intended as an allegory for winter.
For the first half of his career, Domenico Zampieri, called Domenichino, resisted the Baroque style that was becoming popular in his time, preferring the ideal form and classical grandeur of the style known as “disegno.” His sensibility, subtle composition and delicate color heavily influenced Nicolas Poussin. He was trained in the classical manner in Carracci’s academy, then assisted Lodovico Carracci. In 1602 he joined Annibale Carracci and his classmates Guido Reni and Lanfranco, to work on the Farnese Palace’s ceiling murals. Domenichino painted many of the landscapes, ordering and improving on nature. By 1614 he was Rome’s leading painter. He also made easel pictures, sometimes painting on copper to achieve a polished finish. In 1621 he began working as architect for Pope Gregory XV, creating frescoes with a more emotional Baroque style.
Thomas Cheesman was a British printmaker, engraver and miniature painter. Trained by the accomplished stipple engraver, Francesco Bartolozzi, Cheesman produced engravings for the prominent firm of John Boydell, and also continued to assist Bartolozzi on projects. However, he was not satisfied to only reproduce the work of other artists and enrolled in the Royal Academy Schools in 1790. Thereafter, he produced allegorical and mythological subjects and portraits and became known as a miniature painter. He continued to work as an engraver however, and in 1814 he was awarded the gold Isis medal by the Society of Arts, London, for his engraving after Benjamin West’s The Plague Stayed by the Repentance of David. Six of his engravings after other artists are in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual light toning, soiling, wear, soft creases.
“Domenichino.” The Collections. Los Angeles: The Getty. 2000. http://www.getty.edu/art/collections/bio/a679-1.html (23 April 2002).
“Thomas Cheesman.” The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. Online at Artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/library/01/0162/T016232.asp (21 March 2002).