Scena di vita romana
Rome, [Pietro Paolo Montagnani?], 1790
A mezzotint reproduction of Sablet’s early conversation piece Scène de la vie romaine ou La Joueuse de harpe, painted in Rome circa 1787-1789, and now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne (Inv. 742, Dépôt de la Fondation Gottfried Keller). The printmaker Domenico Cunego had travelled in 1785 to Berlin, where for four years he managed the copperplate printing works (Königliche Preußische Hofkupferstichoffizin) set up by the businessman Johann Mark Pascal, and experimented with engraving in the maniera nera (mezzotint), which on his return to Rome became his favourite mode of expression. In a conspicuous legend on this print, Cunego identifies it as the “Première Gravure en ce genre faite a Rome”. Also in 1790 Cunego engraved a “Testa di evangelista” after Giacinto Brandi, designating it the “Deuxieme gravure faite en ce genre à Rome”; both prints probably were sold by Pietro Paolo Montagnani, from his shop beside S. Maria degli Agonizzanti, in the Piazza di Pasquino.