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Bernard Picart

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Los 38 Auktion

Bernard Picart

Estimated price: € 200 / 400
USD: 215 / 430 $GBP: 169 / 338 £
Starting price:  100
  • USD: 107 €
  • GBP: 85 €
  • USD: 107 $
  • GBP: 85 £
USD: 107 $GBP: 85 £

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Bernard Picart

Bernard Picart
Paris 1673 – 1733 Amsterdam
The miraculous fish migration of St Peter
1713
Interpretation after Raphael
Urbino 1483 – 1520 Rome
Washed pen en grisaille
Sheet 32.3 x 43 cm, with frame 48 x 57 cm
Inscribed, signed & dated lower right: “dessigné par B. Picart d’après Raphaele d’Urbine 1713”

Bernard Picart, an important French engraver and painter of the 18th century, was known for his versatility and his imaginative reinterpretations of classical themes. Picart was trained by his father and later studied under Sébastien Leclerc. He settled in Amsterdam, where he became a leading figure in the world of engraving and illustration, known for his attention to detail and innovative compositions.

One of Picart’s notable works is a painting depicting the Miraculous Draught of Fishes, inspired by Raphael’s famous depiction of the same biblical event in the cartoons for tapestries (Royal Collection Trust, RCIN 912944). The story from the Gospel of Luke tells of the moment when Jesus, after instructing the crowd from Simon Peter’s boat, tells Peter to cast his nets into the deep water. Although he has caught nothing all night, Peter obeys and miraculously catches an overwhelming number of fish, symbolising the abundance of divine grace and the calling of the apostles.

In Picart’s free interpretation, the scene is staged through a rich and dynamic composition. The shore can be seen in the foreground, where a group of men on the left are gesticulating animatedly, possibly discussing the miraculous event unfolding before them. In the centre, women, who appear to have fetched water, sit with children; one woman appears to be asleep and is gently woken by another. This inclusion of everyday life adds a level of humanity and realism to the scene. On the right-hand side, a tree stump is depicted with the surrounding vegetation, giving the composition a natural setting. Picart’s signature is skilfully integrated into this element and marks his authorship.

The centre ground shows the river with two boats; Christ sits in the boat on the left and gestures towards a kneeling figure, Simon Peter, in front of him. Behind Christ stands a rower, emphasising the divine presence and the human reaction. In the other boat, two men can be seen hauling in the net filled with fish, while another rower sits, symbolising the effort and amazement at the miraculous catch. In the background, a walled city is depicted with several figures in various positions, adding depth and context to the narrative. The sky above is adorned with clouds and flying birds, adding to the naturalism of the scene.

Picart’s painting captures the essence of the biblical miracle while lending his unique artistic vision, blending the sacred with the everyday and demonstrating his talent for vivid, captivating compositions.

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