Etching (acquaforte monotipata), 1880; a fine impression, richly and skillfully printed, working on the surface tone with monotypic effects, on thick wove paper. Signed LConconi in the film of ink left in the plate in wiping. With large margins, minimal defects in the margins, otherwise in very good condition. To the platemark 188 x 143 mm, the entire sheet measuring 650 x 465 mm. See M. Bianchi, G. Ginex, Luigi Conconi incisore, Milan, 1994; cat. no. 12.
The print shows the interior of the desecrated Milanese church of San Vincenzo in Prato, turned into a chemical factory. The decay of this building has been repeatedly depicted by Conconi in paintings and etchings. See, for example, the etching La casa del mago. The chemist who worked in the church was Paolo Gorini (1813-1881), the creator of a method for keeping the corpses.
Conconi studied architecture at the Accademia di Brera and the Politecnico di Milano. He came into contact with members of the literary and artistic circles of the Scapigliatura – the Italian equivalent of the French Bohème– notably Tranquillo Cremona and Daniele Ranzoni, both of whom influenced his early paintings. In the 1880s Conconi moved from the Realism of Scapigliatura toward Symbolism. The awards he received in Paris in 1900 and Munich in 1913 led to his international recognition.
Conconi, who personally saw to the production of virtually all his plates, was the leading exponent in Lombardy of Acquaforte monotipata. This technique involved the artist drawing directly onto the ink covering the plate, prior to pulling the impression. In this way each resultant print has different characteristics.