Thursday, 21 December 2017

Marco Dente’s engraving, “Abduction of Helen”, 1510-27


Marco Dente (aka Marco da Ravenna; Marco da Ravenna) (fl.1515–1527)
(or an unidentified artist deceptively reproducing Dente’s engraving; see another close copy at the Thorvaldsens Museum with different publication details: http://www.thorvaldsensmuseum.dk/en/collections/work/E1889)

“Abduction of Helen” (aka “Kidnapping of Helena from Troy by Paris”), 1510-1527 and/or 1649, after Marcantonio Raimondi's (c1480–before 1534) engraving (see http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.34910), after the design by Raphael (aka Raffaello Santi) (1483–1520), published by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi (aka Jo Jacobus de Rubeis; Giovanni Jacomo de' Rossi) (1627–1691) in 1649.

Engraving on laid paper trimmed on, or within, the platemark and lined onto a support sheet.
Size: (sheet trimmed unevenly) 29.5 x 41.5 cm
Inscribed on the plate: (lower left) “G. R. formis”; (lower right) “R” (Note: Marco Dente used several monograms—“SR” and “RS”—and the “R” inscribed here may be attributed to his name, “Ravenna”.)

Bartsch 210 copy 3 (3); TIB 26 (Part 1) 210 (171)

The Rijksmuseum offers the following (transl.) description of this print:
“Two Trojans try to pull Helena van Troje into a boat, while Paris pulls her in the opposite direction. The men of Paris are defending themselves against the Greeks.” (http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.345628)

Condition: crisp impression but with numerous restorations of tears and with a replenished loss of the lower-left corner tip. The sheet has been laid upon a support sheet of washi paper.

I am selling this important engraving from the 16th century (published in the 17th century) for the total cost of AU$410 (currently US$315.05/EUR265.68/GBP236.18 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this historically significant print, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


Disregarding for the moment that this print is a copy of Raimondi’s print which was in turn a copy of a drawing by Raphael and it may also be a copy of Dente’s engraving copying Raimondi, the image is an interpretation of Raphael’s design rather than a line-for-line copy.

For contemporary viewers, the distinction between a copy and an interpretative translation of another artwork may be perceived as the same: both are not original artworks. In the Renaissance, however, there was a distinction between a deceptive and an unapproved copy and an interpretative reproduction. With regard to this interpretative translation by Ramondi of Raphael’s drawing, Ramondi was very conscious of this distinction as his modus operandi ensuring that his prints were perceived as “original” was to very deliberately make prints based on drawings rather than “finished” paintings so that he had conceptual space for creative invention “by adding new settings and details” (see Innis H Shoemaker’s (1981) essay, “Marcantonio and His Sources: A Survey  of His Style and Engraving Techniques” in the Spencer Museum exh. cat. “The Engravings of Mancantonio Raimondi”, p. 3).






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