Bracelli’s Bizzarie di Varie Figure (1624)

INTRO:

At first glance you may be forgiven for thinking these images to have sprung from some hitherto unknown corner of the Cubist movement, but these remarkably prescient etchings are in fact the creation of an artist working a whole three centuries earlier. In 1624, Giovanni Battista Bracelli — an Italian engraver and painter working in Florence — produced an extraordinary book of prints titled Bizzarie di Varie Figure (Oddities of various figures). Its forty-seven plates show a variety of human figures mainly interacting in pairs, their bodily forms composed of a range of objects, mostly abstract – cubes, interlocking rings, and squares — but also such things as rackets, screws, braided hair, and the natural forms of trees. 

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