Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (after)
* 1682/83 in Venice † 1754 in Venice
Etching by Felice Polanzini (Noale c.1700 – Rome c.1771). Size of sheet: 44 x 30 cm.
Literature: Morazzoni 256;
George Knox, Tercentenary Exhibition of Drawings, Prints and Books of Piazzetta, Washington, National Gallery of Art, 1983;
Robison, The Glory of Venice, no. 80.
A very fine proof impression before the dedication on the full sheet, before the first edition as published in Tasso, Torquato. La Gerusalemme Liberata, published in Venice 1745 by Giambattista Albrizzi.
The publication contains an allegorical frontispiece, title vignette, dedicatory portrait of Maria Teresa by Felice Polanzani (Noale c.1700 – Rome c.1771) after Piazzetta, 20 full page engraved plates surrounded with etched ornamental borders, 20 half page headpieces containing the ‘argomenti’ to each Canto, 20 culs-de-lampe, 22 historiated initials, and the full page double portrait of the artists and printer at the end.
It would be difficult to over-emphasize the importance of this work; in a time when the production of deluxe books reached its apogee in Venice, this stands out as the grandest example. It also serves as the paradigm of the Venetian pastoral style of artistic expression in book form. Morazzoni states: "It is apt to consider the most beautiful illustrated book, the Gerusalemme Libertata by Piazzetta. Piazzetta proceeds from miracle to miracle -- gives a bold proportion and transforms vignettes into the first real decorative etchings, which occupy a full-page..."