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Wednesday 14 June 2023

Master of the Die’s engraving, “Cybele Driving a Chariot Drawn by Lions”, c1545, after Baldassare Peruzzi

Master of the Die (aka Master B with the Die (fl.1530–1560)—purported by the “Benezit Dictionary of Artists” (2005) to be Bernardo Daddi (1512–1570); the British Museum proposed that the artist may be Tommaso Vincidor (c1493–1534/6) (see

“Cybele in Her Chariot” (aka “Cybele Driving a Chariot Drawn by Lions”), c1545 (1530–1560), after the design by Baldassare Peruzzi (aka Baldassare Siena) (1481–1536) (see a preliminary drawing by Peruzzi held by the British Museum [1880,0508.82]), published in Rome by Antonio Salamanca (1478–1562). “The Illustrated Bartsch” (vol. 29, p. 175) advises that this print was originally described as being after Giulio Romano (aka Giulio Giannuzzi; Giulio Pippi) (c1499–1546) (TIB, vol. 29, p. 175).

Interestingly, I understand from an extract from Pouncey & Gere (1962) offered by the British Museum ( that the Baldassare Peruzzi’s design resembles an antique relief in the Villa Albani, the Altar of Scipio Orfitus, but the figure on the chariot (a personification of the earth mother?) in this relief carries neither a pinecone—not a pineapple as I read in one description of this print! —nor does she rest her foot on an armillary sphere marked with zodiac symbols. Following on from this insight, Frommel & Gere (1962) advise (as cited by the Curator of the BM) that “…as part of the celebrations in 1513 of the granting of Roman citizenship to Giuliano and Lorenzo de' Medici, a float was made with a representation of Cybele/Roma on a carriage drawn by lions, of which the description matches in detail the present drawing” (BM op. cit.).

Engraving on laid paper trimmed around the image borderline and text, lightly gridded with pencil lines (in preparation for copying?) with restoration of the corners on the left side and backed with a support sheet providing wide margins.

Size: (sheet) 24.9 x 18.3 cm.

Inscribed in plate within the image borderline: (lower right corner) [monogram of the artist showing the letter “B” on a die]/ ANT. SAL. EXC.”

Lettered in plate below the image borderline in two columns of four lines of Italian: “Mentr’l tuo Padre in quella, en questa parte/ Seguisti o’ Roma, e mentre i membri uniti/ Tenesti del tuo corpo, ognun di Marte/ T’aueua per figlia e trionfando i siti// Tuoi d’abbondantia empish, e’ tal fu larte/ Che’ ne trabocco’ l teuere ei sue liti:/ Gran segni ancor nel uentre tuo si uede/ Che gia tenesh, I mondo sotto, I pede”.

State ii (of ii) with the addition of publication details for Antonio Salamanca.

TIB 29.18 (Suzanne Boorsch [ed.] 1982, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century”, vol. 29, Abaris Books, New York, p.175, cat. no. 18-II); Bartsch 18 (Adam Bartsch 1803, “Le Peintre Graveur”, vol. 15, Vienna, p. 195, cat. no. 18).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Cybele at left riding her chariot being drawn by two lions to the right, her left foot rests on a globe, nestling in her chariot are an [echidna], rabbit, eagle etc” (

See also a description of this print offered by the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: a very strong early impression, trimmed around the image borderline and laid onto a sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The upper and lower left corners are replenished and the print has been gridded with pencil(?) lines to possibly copy the image. Beyond these issues the sheet is in a good condition with no significant stains.

I am selling this magnificent engraving of great rarity by the 16th century printmaker whose work is signed with a symbol of a dice—hence the artist’s descriptive title, “Master of the Die”—for AU$438 (currently US$292.76/EUR264.89/GBP233.18 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 superb print from the Renaissance era exemplifying the interest at the time for classical mythology, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold 

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