Marcantonio Raimondi, the Famous Engraver of the Great Raphael

Date: 14.09.2016 - 04.12.2016
Place: Schwarzenberg Palace

Marcantonio Raimondi (c. 1480–1534) is the only graphic artist to whom Giorgio Vasari devoted a separate entry in his famous treatise Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects. Such exclusivity does indeed testify to the respect enjoyed by the artist, as well as to his historical significance.

Raimondi received his training from the painter and goldsmith Francesco Francia inBologna. The style and technique of his early prints depart from the art of north and central Italy, while his later works display a strong influence of Transalpine engravers, and especially Albrecht Dürer’s oeuvre. Between 1506 and 1508, Raimondi sojourned inVenicewhere he copied woodcuts by the same master.

The reason behind that was certainly not only financial: Raimondi admired the German artist and copying him helped him master his artistic method. However, he would sell these copies as Dürer’s own, even providing them with his monogram “AD”. Dürer thus brought a legal action against the engraver, albeit merely achieving the ban of Raimondi from using Dürer’s signature. The court did not protest against him imitating the works and selling the copies, since it was a part of a commonplace practice.

Around 1510, Raimondi arrived in Rome, the main contemporary artistic centre of not only Italy but also the entire Europe. His encountering Raphael (1483–1520), the most outstanding personality of the local artistic scene along with Michelangelo, resulted in a long-term cooperation. The painter chose Raimondi his personal engraver due to his mastery. Raphael was well aware of the significance of prints as the means of fast and cheap circulation of works of art and, along with that, promotion of the fame of their creators. Being in close contact with Raimondi, he supervised the final prints in order to make them exactly correspond to his ideas. The success of the engravings was enormous, and they became one of the main sources of disseminating the Roman Renaissance. They have not ceased to inspire artists even after many centuries – for example, Édouard Manet took the composition of his watershed canvas The Luncheon on the Grass over from a Raimondi’s print executed after a model by Raphael, The Judgement of Paris.

Raimondi usually worked from other artists’ models, and is therefore viewed as the father of the reproduction graphic arts. After Raphael’s death in 1520, he cooperated with other artists, mainly Baccio Bandinelli and Giulio Romano. His engravings with pornographic scenes, created from drawings by Giulio, resulted in his short imprisonment in 1524 upon the pope’s order.

Marcantonio left Rome most likely in 1527, after the city was plundered by the imperial armies. He probably returned to Bologna. His oeuvre encompasses about three hundred engravings. He fundamentally transformed the field of graphic arts in Italy, having had an array of distinct followers – such as the engravers Marco Dente da Ravenna, Agostino Musi, Jacopo Caraglio, and many others. Raimondi ranks among the leading personalities of Italian Renaissance.

The intimate exhibition, held in the Schwarzenberg Palace, will present paramount works by Marcantonio from the collections of the National Gallery in Prague, and will lay emphasis on the cooperation between the famed engraver and the great painter. 

Graphic Cabinet in the Schwarzenberg Palace
Curated by Blanka Kubíková

Opening hours
Daily except Monday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

free admission for children, young people aged under 18 and students under 26 free.
Schwarzenberg Palace, Hradčanské náměstí 2, Prague 1

Getting here
Tram 22 – Pražský hrad / Pohořelec
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17:00 - 18:00
New Aliens Exposure