Pietro Aretino, Italian renaissance author, playwright, poet, satirist and blackmailer, has for centuries been an inspiration for later erotic writers and illustrators, and his Les ragionamenti (The Reasonings) of 1534–6 provided Bécat and Éditions de la Nef d’Argent with yet another reason for producing a set of classic Bécat drypoints.
In the first of this pair of dialogues, set in ancient Rome, Nanna and Antonia sit under a fig-tree and discuss the life options open to Nanna’s daughter, Pippa – should she become a nun, a wife or a prostitute? In the follow-up dialogue, comprising the second volume, Nanna teaches her daughter Pippa all about the relationships between prostitutes and their clients.
Twelve of the Bécat plates were reused, with different colourings, in a cheaper single-volume edition published after the war in 1950; you can see these here.
The Bécat-illustrated Les ragionamenti was published in two volumes by Éditions de la Nef d’Argent, in a limited numbered edition of 3,000 copies.