Discovering Collecitons: Galleria Giustiniana del Marchese Vincenzo Giustiniani

As an antique dealer, my goal is to curate an inventory of items that speak to a sophisticated aesthetic. One of the perks of my job is that I get to enjoy pieces for a certain amount of time until they are purchased by clients and head off to their new homes. As a collector myself, amassing multiple fine objects that tell a story, however transient it may be, is not just a pleasure but a necessity. A true collector is not satisfied with simply learning about and admiring objects; a true collector has the desire, the urge even, to acquire. Once acquired, objects can be displayed or stored for posterity's sake.

It can take time to fill out a collection, often picking up individual pieces from various sources. However, there are rare times when you come upon an entire collection available for purchase. These are the special moments that make a collector's heart skip a beat. I recently acquired one such collection of twelve 17th century engravings.

This collection of twelve engravings is from Vincenzo Giustiniani's Galleria Giustiniana del Marchese Vincenzo Giustiniani, originally created as a deluxe set of two volumes of engravings of ancient sculptures from the Giustiniani family collection. Between 1632 and 1635, Vincenzo Giustiniani employed Joachim von Sandrart as the curator of his collection, which included an impressive number of antiques as well as late sixteenth-century and contemporary paintings.

Joachim von Sandrart was born in 1606 in Frankfurt, Germany and died 82 years later in Nuremberg, Germany. Sandrart's father was a Calvinist who had fled Valenciennes, in the county of Hainaut (then under Spain) to Frankfurt. The younger Sandrart began a career as an artist, studying drawing. In 1620, he moved to Nuremberg, where he learned engraving. In Prague, the engraver Aegidius Sadeler advised him to specialize in painting. Around 1625, he became a pupil of the Dutch painter Gerard van Honthorst in Utrecht. In Honthorst’s house, he met Peter Paul Rubens, whom he accompanied on Rubens' tour through Holland. After working for Honthorst at the English court, Sandrart traveled to Rome in 1629 where he met the artistic and intellectual community and began working for Vincenzo Giustiniani.

In Giustiniani's service, Sandrart oversaw the production of the Galleria Giustiniani. Sandrart assembled a team of mostly Dutch and French artists to produce the engravings for the Galleria, including Theodor Matham, Michael Natalis, Renier Persin, Cornelis Bloemaert, Claude Mellan, and Francois Perrier. The work was published in Rome circa 1635. The engravings were printed on exceptionally fine chain-linked, watermarked paper.

Galleria served as a record of the antiquities and statues of the famous Giustiniani art collection. The Giustiniani brothers were exceedingly wealthy and descendants of the Genoese dynasty and became noted collectors of art. At the time of Vincenzo's death in 1637 he had amassed 600 paintings and 1800 ancient sculptures.

How this partial collection came into the estate of the gentleman I purchased them from, I do not know. But if my imagination is allowed to wander, I would say he was a bachelor who was a true collector of antiquities and grand tour pieces. The story in my head goes that in the early part of the 20th century, he fled his home in Europe during one of the World Wars, never to return. Many decades later, we are allowed a peek into his former home, left untouched for the greater portion of the last century. Under that premise, we have photographed the collection of twelve engravings and invite you to discover the collection.

Photography- Anderson Photography

Art Director- Andrew Skipper

Engravings- For more information and detailed photographs, please contact us here.

$145 USD each, 12 available

Author: Vincenzo Giustiniani & Joachim von Sandrart

Work: Galleria Giustiniana del Marchese Vincenzo Giustiniani

Date: c1635

Print Style: Engraving

Paper Size: 13.75” by 20” (Varies Slightly)

Image Size: 9.5” by 14.25” (Varies Slightly)

Paper Type: Chain-linked, Watermarked

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