Gallery of prints for sale

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Jacopo Caraglio’s engraving, “Ariadne”, 1526, after Rosso Fiorentino

Jacopo Caraglio (aka Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio; Giacomo Caraglio) (c1500–1565)

“Ariadne” (aka “Ariadne with a Crown of Stars”), 1526, plate 18 from the series of twenty plates, “The Gods in Niches” (aka “Mythological Gods and Goddesses”; “Classical Gods”; “Goden in Nissen”), after Rosso Fiorentino (aka Giovanni Battista de' Rossi; Giovanni Battista di Jacopo di Guasparre) (1494–1540). Although this impression is somewhat light in tonal contrast—an attribute documented for first/second state impressions (see TIB, vol., 28 [Commentary], p. 117)—this is a lifetime impression before the plate was reworked with the addition of shading around the niche by Francesco Villamena (1564–1624) in the third state and before publication by Carlo Losi (fl.c1757−1805) in the fourth and final state.

Note that this engraving is deceptively close to the copy of it made by Jacob Binck (aka Jacob Bink) (1494/1500–1569) in 1530; see; TIB 16(8).43(274) (Robert A Koch [ed.] 1980, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Early German Masters; Jacob Bink, Georg Pencz, Heinrich Aldegrever”, vol., 16, New York, Abaris Books, p. 43, cat. no. 43). One of the differences is in the shape of the shadow cast by the figure’s bent leg and the variation in the phrasing (pressure) of the borderline in the same area. The Budapest Museum of Fine Arts holds a later copy of Caraglio’s engraving after the plate was revised by Francesco Villamena; see:

Madeline Cirillo Archer (1995), in the commentary volume to “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol., 28 (New York, Abaris Books), offers the following marvellous insights into the series (“The Gods in Niches”) of which this engraving is a part: “…while using niches as settings, [the portrayed figures] make no attempt to imitate sculpture. In plasticity, activities, poses, and environment, the figures are emphatically pictorial in their conception and execution. […] in most of the compositions, the general effect is of forms either bursting out of the niche, or of balancing on the edge, their upper bodies possess a spatial ambiguity with the niche behind. The variety of textures and pictorial use of chiaroscuro increase the sense that these are not sculpture, but living forms” (pp. 116–17).

Engraving on laid paper, trimmed along the platemark on the top and sides and within the borderline on the lower edge with loss of the line of text (“.MORTALIS.BACCHO.PLACVI.QVE.ARIADNA.MARITO.” [The mortal Bacchus pleased Ariadne as her husband]), backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 21 x 11.2 cm.

Numbered in plate: (lower right corner) “18”.

State i/ii (of iv). Note that TIB (1995) advises: “Technically, [this print and all the other plates except for “Saturn”] in the series are not second states, since they do not record changes to the plates. […] Plates are very worn” (p. 117). This first/second state impression is before the significant revisions made in the Villamena edition of the third state.

TIB 2802.041(Robert A Koch [ed.] 1980, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century”, vol., 28 Commentary, New York, Abaris Books, pp. 159–60, cat. no. [2802].041).

Condition: a delicate impression with soiling, trimmed along the platemark on the top and sides and within the borderline on the lower edge with loss of the line of text. The sheet has been laid upon an archival support sheet of millennium quality washi paper providing wide margins.

I am selling this exceptionally rare early/lifetime impression that was interestingly pulled from the press eight years before Michelangelo commenced work on his “Last Judgement” in the Sistine Chapel—a remarkable history of folk have held this print (and left their marks!)—for the total cost of AU$387 (currently US$258.67/EUR234.05/GBP206.03 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this Renaissance period female nude, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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