Marcantonio Raimondi - attributed
Dimensions: 37 x 50 cm
Previous atribution : Leonaro da Vinci - circle
Marcantonio Raimondi was a graphic artist and one of the most famous engravers of the Italian Renaissance. He was trained by Francesco Francia, one of the most famous painters of Northern Italy in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
The stylistic legacy of Francia, as well as that of Andrea Mantegna (court painter in Mantua for the Gonzagas from 1460), is clearly evident in the works produced during his training and up to 1510-12. According to some scholars, it is a lasting imprint that is also clearly evident in his later work. This proximity to the mentioned models is also evident in the sheet offered here (lot no. 1012). The work probably represents an allegory with the young god Vulcan and has been recognized by Marzia Faietti and Sylvia Ferino as a sure work by the young Raimondi.
The young man is depicted sitting on a rock; his muscular and agile body seems to have been drawn on the basis of an ancient sculpture or a print reproducing it. The "Spinario" (Rome, Capitoline Museums, donated to the city by Sixtus IV in 1471 and taken from the Lateran Palace) was one of the most admired and copied ancient statues throughout the Renaissance and may have been the basis for the present composition. Like Andrea Mantegna, Raimondi's work recreates the ancient world, mediated by the anthropocentric vision of the Renaissance.
In the workshop of Francesco Francia, Marcantonio also learned the art of niello silver and began to produce plates and decorations according to the fashion of the time, achieving excellent results. Marcantonio took advantage of this talent in the last years of his stay in Bologna, creating a series of engravings that made him a famous artist around 1504.
In 1506 the artist's important trip to Venice took place, a fundamental experience in many ways. Raimondi, who was well received by his Venetian colleagues, deepened his knowledge of the graphic works of the greatest Italian and Transalpine masters of his time, especially Albrecht Dürer. Marcantonio Raimondi invested his entire fortune in acquiring a series of Dürer's engravings and set out with great dedication to reproduce them in order to copy them, although the transfer of woodcuts into copper engravings does not always lead to the desired success.
The copper reproductions of Dürer's woodcuts, including the famous cycle depicting the life of the Virgin Mary (lot no. 1013), gave rise to a legal dispute between Dürer and Raimondi after 1511 in Rome, which was resolved by an agreement between the two in which Marcantonio undertook not to include Dürer's monogram in his copies.
Of Dürer's complete series of 20 plates, Marcantonio reproduced only 17 scenes, missing the scenes "The Seated Virgin on the Crescent Moon," "The Death of the Virgin," and "The Assumption of the Virgin."