Plate 115 from Passeri’s Picturae Etruscorum


Giovanni Battista Passeri. “T. CXV.  in Biblioth Vaticana.” From Picturae Etruscorum in Vasculis Nunc Primum in Unum Collectae. Rome: J. Zempel, 1770. 11 x 6 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.