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Tuesday 4 April 2023

Pietro Santi Bartoli’s etching, “Pasce Oves Meas”, c1660, after Raphael

Sometimes when looking into the meaning behind prints there are unexpected meanings that surface—and this print is a good example. Although the broad meaning underpinning the print is easy to understand with the translation of the lettered title, “Pasce Oves Meas” as “Feed My Sheep”. After all, sheep are fairly standard metaphors for the Lord’s flock of followers and he is clearly proposing to St Peter (kneeling) that he may wish to take over as their guiding shepherd, but what I then discovered was surprising and even slightly shocking for me: the parable is not just about sheep … it’s also about goats! From what I now understand, sheep are the docilely innocent and good folk of the world whereas goats are the difficult and scheming ones. I love idea that farm animals could be so neatly categorised and I wish Jermy Clarkson (see the Prime Video’s series “Clarkson’s Farm” [2021, 2 seasons]) was here to offer a few words about that!

Pietro Santi Bartoli (1635–1700)

“Pasce Oves Meas” (Feed My Sheep) (aka “Christ Appoints Peter as Head of His Church”; “Christus stelt Petrus aan als hoofd van zijn kerk”), c1660 (1650–70), from the series of fifteen plates (including the title plate), “Depictions by Raphael in the Vatican” (aka “Voorstellingen door Rafaël in het Vaticaan”), published in Rome by Giovanni Giacomo de' Rossi (aka Giovanni Jacomo de' Rossi; Jo Jacobus de Rubeis) (1627–1691), after a painting by Raphael (aka Raffaello Sanzio; Raffaello Santi) (1483–1520) in the Stanza dell'incendio del Borgo (see explanation note for this print held by the Rijksmuseum:

Etching with engraving on wove paper with full margins as published (including the binding holes at left). This is a late impression.

Size: (sheet) 28.4 x 45 cm; (plate) 10.2 x 26.2 cm; (image borderline) 9.3 x 25.9 cm.

Lettered in plate below the image borderline: (left) “Rafael Sanctio Vrbin. Inu. Petrus Sanctus Bartolus delin. et Sculp.”; (centre) “Pasce oues meas. Ioan. Cap. 2i.”; (right) “Io Iacobus de Rubeis formis Romæ ad Templu Pacis cú Priu. S-Pont”.

Nagler/Meyer 954–968 (Julius Meyer 1872–85, “Edition: 2. neubearbeitete Auflage von Nagler's Künstler-Lexicon” [Edition: 2nd revised edition of Nagler's artist lexicon], vol. 3, Leipzig, p. 55, cat. nos. 954–968); Nagler (described but not numbered) (G.K. Nagler 1835, “Neues allgemeines Künstler-Lexicon oder Nachrichten von dem Leben und den Werken der Maler, Bildhauer, Kupferstecher, Formschneider, Lithographen, Zeichner, Medailleure, Elfenbeinarbeiter, etc.:A— Boe”, Munich, E A Fleischmann, p. 294); Passavant 163.119.a.

See also the description of this print offered by the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Note that the Istituto Centrale per la Grafica offers an online view of the printing plate along with a description of this print:

Condition: a strong and near faultless (note that there is a dot mark on the foreground sheep) late impression in near pristine condition still retaining the binding holes of publication on the left edge.

I am selling this superb (but late) impression of Bartoli’s finely executed etching (with engraving) after Raphael, for the total cost of AU$218 (currently US$147.05/EUR134.77/GBP118.22 at the time of this listing) including Express Mail (EMS) 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 beautiful panel showing Christ proposing to St Peter kneeling in reverence before him that he may choose to "Feed my sheep” (Pasce Oves Meas) (John 21:15–17)—a proposal for Peter to look after Christ’s followers—please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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