Zinc etching, Baboni-Malesci CXLVIII. The print has the characteristics of the impressions pulled by Fattori himself, or under his direct guidance, with his small hand press. These impressions were printed on various types of paper, often recovered by chance, easily recognizable by the narrow margins. Several examples are in the Franconi collection. See: Andrea Baboni, Le incisioni di Giovanni Fattori nella collezione Franconi, Florence, 1987; nos. 4, 26, 28, 64, 74, 78 and 85. Baboni generally dated these impressions c. 1900.
A fine proof impression, printed with black ink on gray, rough, laid paper. The inking is extremely rich and unwiped in the bottom area, hiding completely the artist's monogram and, together with the gray paper, it deepens the darkness. To the platemark 218 x 151 mm, the entire sheet measuring 264 x 204 mm.
Samples of this print are rare, lacking in the Rosselli collection (Florence) as well in the Franconi collection (Bergamo). An impression exists in the Timpanaro collection (GDS Università di Pisa, inv. n. 2963), another one is at the Museo Fattori (Livorno, Invv.: n. 74/340; 91/2065), but both, compared with our impression, are printed in a quite conventional way, with uniform wiping of the plate.
Giovanni Fattori, possibly the most important painter of the nineteenth century in Italy, received his first instruction in drawing from a lesser painter of his native town. In 1846 Fattori moved to Florence to attend the Academy. During the 1850s Fattori joined the innovative artists, called Macchiaioli, who met at the Caffè Michelangelo in Florence and were champions of a new technique and style to contrast the conventional academic language. During those years, he still produced works that could be attributed to the historical-romantic school but his interest in studying from life also extended to landscape painting and the military life of the day became the subject of his first experiments in painting using the macchia technique. In 1867, after the death of his first wife, Fattori frequently stayed in the Maremma region which became the ideal backdrop for his works. Fattori began etching in the early 1880s, when he was nearly sixty; quite soon he was able to appreciate the difference of expression he could achieve using this new medium. A real peintre-graveur, he continued with etching his artistic research on light and essential shapes in reality.