Since the Renaissance, Italian villas have inspired architects, artists, and authors alike to create illustrative books that have served as guides or memoirs for travelers on the Grand Tour and provided valuable sources of historical documentation. For example, circa 1675, Giacomo di Rossi first published a compendium of prints by Giovanni Battista Falda entitled Le Fontane di Roma Nelle Piazze, e Luoghi Publici Della Citta, con il Loro Prospetti. Nearly a century later, Giovanni Battista Piranesi collaborated with pupils of the French Academy in Rome to create etchings for Varie Vedute di Roma Antica e Moderna. By 1809, French architects Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine produced Choix des plus celebres maisons de plaisance de Rome et de ses environs. At the onset of the 1900s, the subject had expanded beyond the scope of Rome to other Italian provinces as is evident from Edith Wharton’s Italian Villas and Their Gardens and Jock Shepherd and Geoffrey Jellicoe’s Gardens of the Italian Renaissance, among other publications.
Following my own travels, I have begun to carry this tradition forth into the 21st century. The phrase “chiaroscuro eterno” reflects my concept of the black and white medium of drypoint (intaglio) printmaking to illustrate not only my contemporary study of classic Italian villas, but the emergence of light from darkness in the Renaissance over the medieval in art and architecture. This collection of prints includes scenes from several villas and the towns or cities to which they are closely connected: Villa Medici in Rome; Villa Aldobrandini in Frascati; Villa D’Este in Tivoli; Palazzo Farnese in Caprarola; Villa Lante in Bagnaia; Villa Orsini/Sacro Bosco in Bomarzo; Villa Torrigiani near Lucca; Giardini di Boboli and Giardino Bardini in Florence.
- ArtAscent Art and Literature Journal selected Stephanie as one of their Distinguished Artists and published one of her prints from this series in their April 2015 “Magnificence” themed issue.
- Nicola Lopez has selected a print from this series for the Somewheres & Nowheres / New Prints 2014 Show at the International Print Center in New York, NY, from October 25-December 13, 2014. For more information, click here.