Gradasse and Roger battle with the magician Atlante on his hippogriff
Engraving on handmade paper from 1775 by Nicholas Ponce after Nicholas Cochin. The engraving depicts a scene from the story of Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto. It shows how Gradasse, king of Séricane and Roger battle with the magician Atlante on his hippogriff. The magic shield of Atlante shown here is still covered with a silk cloth. Once revealed, it will blind and permanently defeat the fighters, after which the fighters will be transported to Atlante’s steel castle seen at the top of the print. In the bottom left is Pinabel, whose wife has been kidnapped by Atlante and is the reason for the battle between Grassade, Roger and the Magician Atlante. The image is 13.5 x 9 cm in size and is mounted in a passe partout, the total dimensions are 33 x 30 cm.. The engraving is in good condition.
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Charles-Nicolas Cochin (February 22, 1715 – April 29, 1790) was a French engraver, designer, writer and art critic. To distinguish him from his father of the same name, he alternately becomes Charles-Nicolas Cochin le Jeune (the young), Charles-Nicolas Cochin le fils (the son) or Charles-Nicolas Cochin II.
Cochin was born in Paris, the son of Charles-Nicolas Cochin the Elder (1688-1754), among whom he studied engraving. His mother was Louise-Magdeleine Horthemels (1686-1767), who himself was an important engraver in Paris for some fifty years. In addition to his artistic education, Cochin taught Latin, English and Italian, and read the work of philosopher John Locke in the original.
In addition to having natural talent and academic training, Cochin has benefited from good connections in the world of art. In addition to the fact that both his parents were engravers, his mother’s two sisters, Marie-Nicole Horthemels (died in 1689, died after 1745) and Marie-Anne-Hyacinthe Horthemels (1682-1727), were working in the same field. Marie-Nicole was married to the portrait painter Alexis Simon Belle, while Marie-Anne-Hyacinthe was the wife of Nicolas-Henri Tardieu. Tardieu (1674-1749) was another eminent French engraver, a member of the Academy from 1720, who had engraved the works of Renaissance masters and of his own time.
The Horthemels family, originally from the Netherlands, were followers of the Dutch theologian Cornelis Jansen and had links with the Paris abbey of Port-Royal des Champs, the center of Jansenist’s thinking in France. In the 1730s, Cochin was a member of the Gobelins group that focused on Charles Parrocel.
Cochin quickly achieved success and fame. Already in 1737 he was employed by the young King Louis XV to make engravings commemorating every birth, marriage and funeral at the king’s court, and from 1739 he was formally associated as a designer and engraver with the Menus-Plaisirs du Roi, where all such ephemeral occasions were produced. He was not only an engraver for the court, he was also a designer, a writer about art and a portrait artist. In 1749 Mme chose the Pompadour Cochin to accompany her brother Abel Poisson, the future Marquis de Marigny, on a study tour through Italy, in the company of the architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot and the art critic Jean-Bernard, abbé Le Blanc. Cochin, Soufflot and Marigny remained good friends on their return, when their considerable combined influence had greatly
contributed to the triumph of neoclassicism in France. Upon his return in 1751, he was admitted to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, where he had been agéé since 1741. In 1752, after the death of Charles-Antoine Coypel, he was appointed successor to Coypel as the keeper of the king’s drawings with a home in the Louvre. From 1755 to 1770 he had the title of managing the art of the king, and in this role he commissioned other artists, drew up programs for the decoration of the palaces and castles of the king, and provided pensions. Between 1750 and 1773, the work of Cochin was led by the Marquis de Marigny, the director of the bâtiments du Roi of King Louis XV. Cochin was in fact the academic liaison of Marigny. In 1750-1751, Cochin, together with Jérôme-Charles Bellicard, accompanied Marigny during a visit to the excavations in Herculaneum. In 1753, Cochin and Bellicard published their observations on the antiquities of the city of Herculaneum, the first illustrated report of the discoveries there, where the frescoes of Herculaneum were largely ignored. Publications of the work in English were published in 1753, 1756 and 1758, and in French in 1754, 1755 and 1757. Cochin was able to influence the artistic taste of France and was one of his most important taste leaders in the eighteenth century . His years of greatest administrative influence were from 1752 to 1770. In 1755 he became secretary (secretary historiographe) of the Academy, a position he still held in 1771, and for one year he was director of the Société académique des Enfants d ‘ Apollon. He was a frequent guest at the Madame Geoffrin dinners, and it was said that he spoke brilliantly about painting and engraving. Cochin saw himself as an educator and was critical of the Rococo style, whose extravagance he publicly criticized at the Mercure de France. He argued for technical precision and skill in the use of natural elements. In the 1750s he also attacked the early, extreme phase of neoclassicism, known as the Goût grec, illustrated in the work of the architect Jean-François de Neufforge. King Louis XV rewarded the talents of Cochin with a patent of nobility and membership of the Order of Saint Michael and gave him a pension. However, after the death of Louis XV in 1774, Cochin fell out of royal favor and in his later years lived in relative poverty.