Giovanni Battista Passeri. “T. CI. In Museo Vaticano.” From Picturae Etruscorum in Vasculis Nunc Primum in Unum Collectae. Rome: J. Zempel, 1770. 9 7/8 x 5 3/4. Engraving. Very good condition.
An original engraving of an Etruscan vase from Giovanni Battista Passeri’s Picturae Etruscorum in Vasculis. Epitomizing eighteenth-century fascination with antiquities, the elegant engravings in this volume were drawn from ancient Etruscan pottery. Passeri (1694-180) was a painter, archaeologist and the antiquary for Cosimo III de Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. He was one of the most well-known and enthusiastic collectors of ancient terra. He also believed that the Etruscan civilization was superior to that of the Greeks, hoping to help establish the primacy of Italian culture. A prolific scholar, Passeri published this book, “Pictures on small Etruscan vases,” based on designs found on the Etruscan antiquities in a number of collections, including the Vatican. The result was an exceptionally striking group of prints showcasing classic themes of ancient Etruscan design.