Mattia Jona, Master Drawings and Prints, Japanese Prints - Piazzetta Guastalla 5, 20122 Milan, Italy, tel (+39) 02 8053315


Juste de Juste, standing male figure seen from the rear

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JUSTE DE JUSTE (Tours ca. 1505 - ca. 1559) STANDING MALE FIGURE, SEEN FROM THE REAR, WITH ARMS RAISED AND CROSSED
Etching, Zerner 7, ca. 1543. A very good impression, with thin margins, light paper thinning skillfully restored, in very good condition. The sheet measuring 199 x 91 mm.
REFERENCE: Henri Zerner, Ecole de Fontainebleau, Gravures, Arts et Métiers Graphiques, 1969.

Juste de Juste has been widely accepted as the author of seventeen etchings of naked or écorché male figures signed with a complicated monogram. He also worked as a stuccoist of the School of Fontainebleau under Rosso Fiorentino. Juste was a member of the Betti family of sculptors from near Florence, who became known as the Juste family in France, where Juste de Juste's father Antonio and his two brothers emigrated and spent most of their careers. Juste de Juste was born in Tours, and trained as a sculptor by his uncle Jean. He worked with his uncle on the mausoleum of Louis XII of France at St-Denis. In 1529 he was still living in Tours when Francis I commissioned him to make marble sculptures of Hercules and Leda, now lost, and in 1533 he was appointed Sculpteur du Roi as his father and uncles had been before him. Juste de Juste spent most of the period 1531-37 in Fontainebleau, thus participating in the birth of what is known as the First School of Fontainebleau.
As an etcher Juste de Juste left a set of twelve small single etched figures (Zerner 6-17) and another set of five larger prints each showing five or six naked male figures forming improbable human pyramids (Zerner 1-5). All the figures are elongated and muscular and many of their faces have anguished grimaces; over much of their bodies the musculature is so exposed they seem flayed. They are usually interpreted as academic exercises in drawing the male figure and scholars agree that they have all been etched at the same time. The etching technique is personal and direct, but probably not that of a professional printmaker. Like many Fontainebleau prints, the technical finish of the etching is poor, but the images have an intriguing impact. Only the larger set bears the monogram, now agreed to read ETSVI, or in reverse IVSTE. Like most School of Fontainebleau prints, these prints are rare.

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