Vasari said that Marcantonio Raimondis first engraving after a design by Raphael
was the Suicide of Lucretia, but he most likely confused it with the similar but
much smaller Suicide of Dido, also engraved by Marcantonio. Following the Didos
success Raphael no doubt wished Lucretia to be larger and bolder. The two
figures were probably recycled from a group of dancers, perhaps the Muses,
projected for a mural decoration; a drawing by Raphael adapted to Lucretia is
precisely in the style of his Parnassus studies The hypothesis that Dido and
Lucretia were initially conceived as dancers is supported by a montage of the
two figures silhouetted and by a glance at contemporary representations of
The Morbetto, or Plague in Crete, designed by Raphael and engraved by Marcantonio
Raimondi, juxtaposes the pestilence described in Virgils Aeneid with the ruinous
state of Romes ancient remains in the Renaissance. This article examines this
exceptional collaboration between the artist and engraver in light of early
modern medical knowledge of contagion and an emerging discourse on the
preservation of Roman ruins. It argues that the tonal properties of engraving
and reproducible nature of print are integral to the meaning of the Morbetto, an
image in which new artistic creation arises from a cultural landscape dominated
by the fragmentary heritage of the past.
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.
Marcantonio Raimondis career is here considered as a record of a distinctively
Renaissance hunger for imagery, on the part of the literate as well as the
illiterate, a taste that did not demand autograph work and yet was very
attentive to the decisions made by artists about which subjects to portray and
how to present them. Marcantonios contribution is described less in terms of
having made Raphaels work known widely, and more as having made engraving into
an established art form: collectible, discussable, debatable. His innovative
technique yielded, it is argued, images of deliberately impersonal style, an
accomplishment obscured by the ensuing emphasis on maniera.
Architecture and visual arts in general have been subjects of a growing body of recent scholarship connected with the ecclesiastical history of the ‘Long Eighteenth Century’, but little attention has been given to portraiture. Although honourable mention should be made of pioneering work by John Ingamells on painted episcopal portraits, and by Peter Forsaith, very recently, on Methodist portrait prints, other aspects of this extensive subject still await investigation. The article outlines the development of engraved portrayal of clergy, mainly of the Church of England, during the two centuries before production of multiple images was taken over by photography, and indicates how the quantity, variety, and dissemination of such material can provide some index of the priorities of a pre-photographic age. It does not aim to be a comprehensive or a complete survey of the corpus of engraved portraiture; nevertheless, this article provides an initial guide to the abundance of previously unexplored illustrative material, and may suggest a framework for further exploration. It is hoped that future scholars will build on this initial work to enable a complete catalogue of such images to be developed and further explored.
An Illustration of Otherness in John Nalson’s An Impartial Collection
An Impartial Collection of the Great Affairs of State was published in London, in two volumes, between 1682 and 1683. Its author John Nalson was a fervent believer in the twin pillars of the monarchy and the Anglican Church. In An Impartial Collection he holds up the internecine conflict of the 1640s as an example not to be followed during the 1680s, a period of further religious and political upheaval. Nalson’s text is anything but neutral, and its perspective is neatly summarised in the engraved frontispiece which prefaces the first volume. This article examines how this illustration, depicting a weeping Britannia accosted by a two-faced clergyman and a devil, adapts and revises an established visual vocabulary of ‘otherness’, implying disruption to English lives and liberties with origins both foreign and domestic. Such polemical imagery relies on shock value and provocation, but also contributes to a sophisticated conversation between a range of pictorial sources, reshaping old material to new concerns, and raising important questions regarding the visual literacy and acuity of its viewers.
What was the process by which an antiquity found on the streets of Rome became
the subject of a Renaissance engraving? How did engraving preserve the memory of
such antiquities as they vanished into the homes of private collectors, were
plundered or destroyed? This article focuses on Marcantonio Raimondis Lion Hunt
to explore the relationship between ancient sculpture and the medium of print in
Marcantonio Raimondis Il Sogno and Albrecht Dürers Sea Monster share a number of
compositional similarities as well as a fascination with the bizarre. The
association of monstrous forms as an omen of grave misfortune, including
pestilence and war, was particularly common at the beginning of the sixteenth
century. In Marcantonios engraving the chimeric monsters, billowing inferno and
shooting star can be perceived as a graphic warning that by 1509 Venices world
was in deep peril.
George Clough‘s donation of old master prints raised the Whitworth Institute‘s
collection to international standing. Simultaneously, it presented Manchester
with a viewing experience that was possibly unique in Britain, and placed on
permanent display one of the nations finest collections of engravings, etchings
and woodcuts so as to offer a visual history of the medium of print. Clough had
a special interest in Marcantonio Raimondi, collecting over forty prints by him
at a time when such works commanded high prices. This article examines the
history and composition of Clough‘s collection and its place in the collecting
culture of northern England, and of Manchester in particular, around 1900.
Artists’ Printed Portraits and Manuscript Biographies in Rylands English MS 60
Rylands English MS 60, compiled for the Spencer family in the eighteenth century, contains 130 printed portraits of early modern artists gathered from diverse sources and mounted in two albums: 76 portraits in the first volume, which is devoted to northern European artists, and 54 in the second volume, containing Italian and French painters. Both albums of this ‘Collection of Engravings of Portraits of Painters’ were initially planned to include a written biography of each artist copied from the few sources available in English at the time, but that part of the project was abandoned. This article relates English MS 60 to shifting practices of picturing art history. It examines the rise of printed artists’ portraits, tracing the divergent histories of the genre south and north of the Alps, and explores how biographical approaches to the history of art were being replaced, in the eighteenth century, by the development of illustrated texts about art.