WOLFF, Jeremias (1663-1724)
[Giuseppe Tortoriti] Joseph Tortoriti, faisant le personage de Scaramouche
Augsburg: Published in Augsburg by Jeremias Wolff. circa 1695. Engraving with superb early colour and rich gold highlights. Printed on watermarked laid paper. In excellent condition. Image size: 9 5/8 x 6 7/8 inches. Sheet size: 14 1/8 x 8 ¾ inches. Plate mark: 10 3/8 x 6 7/8 inches. Archivally framed.
This is a handsome print, with breathtaking early colour, depicting the celebrated Italian comic actor Guiseppe Tortoriti, in the character of Scaramouche
Giuseppe Tortoriti, shown as Scaramouche, was usually Pasqariel, and was known by the latter name. He was one of the leading commedia dell'arte performers when Louis XIV closed the theatre in Paris in 1697 because of a supposed insult to Mme. Maintenon. Louis selected Tortoriti to form a new company, which was allowed to perform in France but not within 30 leagues of Paris. Tortoriti's troupe played mainly around Toulouse. Italian troupes did not perform in Paris again until after Louis' death.
This bold print is from a colourful series of costume prints engraved and published by Jeremias Wolff at the beginning of the 18th century. The series depicts prancing figures in flamboyant theatrical costumes, and is a superb example of early costume prints. Costume and trade prints, such as this, became extremely popular in Europe at the close of the seventeenth century and continued to serve as a source of inspiration until the decadent days of the Art Deco movement in the 1920's. This magnificent series depicts the costumes of ballet dancers, and opera singers, as well as the vibrant apparel of a jester at a masque ball. As is typical of this genre of print, the figures are pictured in front of an architectural or pastoral background and richly coloured in thick opaque colour with vibrant gold highlights. The series was executed and produced by the prolific German publisher Jeremias Wolff. Wolff came from a family of engravers and became extremely successful, both as an engraver and as a publisher and printseller. He was one of the most prolific publishers and engravers in Augsburg and is responsible for some of the finest engravings to come out of the city. In addition to a number of other costume books and portraits, he was a successful map publisher and it is for his skill as a cartographic engraver that he is perhaps best known.
Colas, Bibliographie General du Costume et de la Mode ; Lipperheide, Katalog der Freiherrlich von Lipperheide'schen Kostum-Bibliothek, 1896-1901.