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Morghen, Raffaello Sanzio

MORGHEN, RAFFAELLO SANZIO (1758-1833), Italian engraver, was born at Naples on the 1pth of June 1758. He received his earliest instructions from his father, himself an engraver; but, in order to be initiated more fully in the art, he was afterwards placed as a pupil under the celebrated Volpato. He assisted this master in engraving the famous pictures of Raphael in the Vatican, and the print which represents the miracle of Bolsena is inscribed with his name. He married Volpato's daughter, and, being invited to Florence to engrave the masterpieces of the Florentine Gallery, he removed thither with his wife in 1782. His reputation now became so great as to induce the artists of Florence to recommend him to the grand duke as a fit person to engrave the " Last Supper " of Leonardo da Vinci; apart, however, from the dilapidated state of the picture itself, the drawing made for Morghen was unworthy of the original, and the print, in consequence, although an admirable production, fails to convey a correct idea of the style and merit of Leonardo. Morghen's fame, however, soon extended over Europe; and the Institute of France, as a mark of their admiration of his talents, elected him an associate in 1803. In 1812 Napoleon invited him to Paris and paid him the most flattering attentions. He died at Florence on the 8th of April 1833.

A list of the artist's works, published at Florence in 1810, comprised 200 compositions; the number was afterwards considerably increased. Amongst the most remarkable, besides those already mentioned, may be noticed the Transfiguration from Raphael, a Magdalen from Murillo, a Head of the Saviour from da Vinci, the Car of Aurora from Guido, the Hours and the Repose in Egypt from Poussin, the Prize of Diana from Domenichino, the Monument of Clement XIII. from Canova, Theseus vanquishing the Minotaur, Francesco Moncado after Van Dyck, portraits of Dante, Petrarch, Ariosto, Tasso, and a number of other eminent men. His prints have hardly maintained the reputation which they enjoyed during the artist's lifetime. Though carefully and delicately executed, they are somewhat mechanical and wanting in force and spirit.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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