Johann Jakob FREY the Elder - 1681 - 1752
Portrait of Carlo Maratti
Swiss School

Pen and black ink
On parchment with gold framing line

16.9 X 14.1 cm, drawing in an oval shape

Provenance :

Euro :

Unknown Collectors Mark “ACCN”


Johann Jakob Frey the Elder, born in Lucerne in 1681, was the son of the sculptor in wood, Hans Heinrich Frey. With the support from Franz. Josef von Schauensee he went to Rome in 1702. There he was initially the pupil of the Flemish engraver, Arnold van Westerhout, and then the painter Carlo Maratti. The influence of Carlo Maratti was decisive, as he drew Frey’s attention to the picturesque qualities of etching. Thereafter Frey combined etching and engraving in most of his prints. His very precise and accurate engravings after the works of the seventeenth and eighteenth century masters, such as “Aurora” after Guido Reni of 1722 and the “Flight into Egypt” after Maratti of 1735, are considered his most important works. The most complete collection of his graphic works is in the Zentralbibliothek in Lucerne. In 1726 he returned briefly to Switzerland; at which time he was commissioned to design the ceiling fresco for the nave of St. Jost Church at Blatten, Lucerne. Johann Jakob Frey died in Rome in 1752.

The present drawing served as a preparatory study for Frey’s engraving of about 1702, showing the portrait of Carlo Maratti before one of his drawings. The drawing can also be compared to the self-portrait of Carlo Maratti, executed in red chalk, kept in the British Museum ( which is dated to 1684. The accurate draughtsman ship is typical of Johann Jakob Frey’s work and his northern origins are also evident.


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