Woman contemplating a Skull


After Alessandro Casolani. Chiaroscuro woodcut from possibly six blocks, printed in black and olive-grey. Bartsch XII, 148, 14, only state; Gabarelli (in The Chiaroscuro Woodcut in Renaissance Italy, 2016) 107, second state of two with a small alteration to the lamp flame
Watermark: Eagle in circle (cited for the best impressions of this print)
Provenance: F. Quiring (b.1886) (Lugt 1041b); J.F. Kroepelien (not in Lugt)
A crisp, early impression with fresh relief, complete to the outer edges of the borderline, window-mounted. The lower margin with the inscription trimmed off, as in some museum impressions and the Georg Baselitz collection exhibited at the Albertina. A couple of minor thin spots in the corners, glue residue at the edges, verso, otherwise in very good condition. 288 x 215mm.
In an intensive collaboration with Alessandro Casolani, Andreani produced four other chiaroscuro woodcuts after his designs in the same year as this print.
Counter-Reformation fervour and fear of the plague came together towards the end of the 16th Century in a religious preoccupation with death. Three other prints by Andreani made a few years earlier reflected the popularity of memento mori themes, two of them being among the first representations of skulls in isolation from any other compositional details. This print introduces a vanitas element in the beauty of the woman in meditation and the many hints that it will not last.