a New Proof State of the Battle of the Romans and the Sabines
The John Rylands Library’s recently rediscovered Spencer Album 8050 contains a proof state of the Battle of the Romans and the Sabines, an engraving pivotal in the short-lived but ambitious collaboration between Jacopo Caraglio (1500–65) and Rosso Fiorentino (1495–1540) in Rome. This proof impression was first printed in black ink, and then densely covered with hand-drawn ink. A comparison between the new proof state and previously identified states of the engraving using a novel technical approach involving long-wave infrared light to isolate the printed lines optically indicates that the Spencer proof state precedes any other known state of the engraving. The use of penwork and printing on this early proof and subsequent proof states demonstrates how Caraglio and Rosso saw drawing and printing as intimately connected, iterative steps in the print’s production.