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La Villa Madama

Accession Number
1973/1.737

Title
La Villa Madama

Artist(s)
Jean-François Janinet

Object Creation Date
1778

Medium & Support
etching and lavis-manner engraving printed in color on paper

Dimensions
15 15/16 in x 19 3/4 in (40.48 cm x 50.17 cm);22 1/16 in x 28 1/16 in (56.04 cm x 71.28 cm);15 15/16 in x 19 3/4 in (40.48 cm x 50.17 cm);13 9/16 in x 14 3/8 in (34.45 cm x 36.51 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Label copy
The avid taste among collectors for works by important artists led to the creation of new media that could provide facsimiles of original drawings and watercolors to an eager public. By covering the plate with a fine pattern of marks that approximate the opacity and translucency of the Robert gouache without resorting to harsh outline, Janinet devised a manner by which he could evoke the delicate washes of the original. Although the tonal gradations appear to be aquatint, Janinet employed a variety of stipple tools and roulettes in a process that is a further refinement of crayon-manner engraving. The rich color prints shown here, a combination of etching and crayon-manner engraving, illustrate why color printing during this period in France was so highly regarded.
Jean-François Janinet was largely known as a reproductive engraver. These two works depicting Roman monuments are based on gouaches by the artist Hubert Robert; the original drawings were part of the renowned collection of P.J. Mariette. Janinet is sometimes credited with introducing color printing in France, although color printing first became popular in Paris through the works of Janinet’s teacher, Louis-Marin Bonnet. Janinet’s most talented pupil, Charles-Melchior Descourtis, also made his name creating colored prints after watercolor and gouache originals, such as the Noce de Village and Foire de Village, on view elsewhere in the gallery.
Exhibition label copy from "Eighteenth Century French Prints and Drawings," February 1 - May 4, 2003 by Curator Carole McNamara
Although closely resembling aquatint, the work of Jean-François Janinet and his pupil Charles-Melchior Descourtis is actually an extension of crayon-manner engraving. Rather than using a resin to create the fine
tonal qualities desired, as is the case in aquatint, both Janinet and Descourtis used a series of fine rockers and stippling tools (sometimes through a ground) to create the delicate tonalities found in their color prints. See 1973/1.736 and 737 and also 1974/2. 48 and 49. [Source: Grove Dictionary of Art and Regency to Empire: French Printmaking 1715-1814, Baltimore Museum of Art, 1985]
---
Jean-François Janinet
France, 1752–1814
after Hubert Robert
France, 1733–1808
La Villa Madama
1778
Etching and crayon-manner engraving
Museum purchase, 1973/1.737
The avid taste among collectors for works by important artists led to the creation of new media that could provide facsimiles of original drawings and watercolors to an eager public. By covering the plate with a fine pattern of marks that approximate the opacity and translucency of watercolors without resorting to harsh outline, Janinet devised a manner by which he could evoke the delicate washes of Robert’s original. The richness of this color etching and engraving illustrates why color printing during this period in France was so highly regarded. Janinet is sometimes credited with introducing color printing in France, although color printing first became popular in Paris through the works of Janinet’s teacher, Louis-Marin Bonnet.
(6/28/10)

Subject matter
This etching shows the Villa Madama, a villa along the Tiber River, outside of Rome, that was designed by Raphael and built in the early 16th c. This villa was meant to imitate the villas of Roman antiquity and included architectural elements of that period, such as massive vaults. By the time that this etching was done in the late 18th c., Villa Madama had fallen into ruin and become a location for washerwomen to do their work. Such juxtapositions of Roman architecture (particularly ruins) and picturesque figures occupying formerly grand spaces was a speciality of the French painter, Hubert Robert. Janinet's color engraving evokes watercolors of the period by French artists working in Rome, including Robert and Fragonard.

Physical Description
This etching, in a pale blue, brown and gray color scheme, depicts an outdoor scene with a large Roman style building and several human figures in the foreground. One giant wall, with two large arches, with semi-circular apses behind, crosses the middle section of the composition from left to right. It intersects a massive building that has a series of vaulted chambers. Both structures have crumbling stonework and overgrown vegetation. There are several groups of women in the foreground on both sides of a river. Some are in the water washing laundry and some are standing with wash hanging on lines. There is a small dog on the shore.

Primary Object Classification
Print

Primary Object Type
color print

Collection Area
Western

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Figures
arch bridges
arches
bridges
bridges (built works)
buildings
dogs
dogs (devices for wood)
laundries (businesses)
laundry
statues
trees

& Author Notes

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