Marcantonio Raimondi, Man Climbing the Bank of a River, a copperplate engraving

Italy, around AD 1509

A male nude after Michelangelo

Michelangelo (1475-1564) had to abandon his fresco of the Battle of Cascina commissioned by the city of Florence when he was summoned to Rome by Pope Julius II in 1505. Some four years later Marcantonio Raimondi (about 1480-before 1534) saw the preparatory cartoon (now lost) or a drawing made from it, from which he chose this youth climbing out of a river as the subject for an engraving.

Michelangelo's powerful nudes were developed from an established Florentine training of drawing nudes and from classical sculpture. His ability to draw the most complex poses from unusual angles was much admired. As the youth climbs up the riverbank, one leg is straight and the other bent. His torso is foreshortened as it leans away from us and to the right, while his head looks up and to the left, revealing only a 'lost' profile. The rhythms of the body are repeated and amplified by the taut muscles, although Raimondi's engraved marks cannot capture the subtlety of Michelangelo's chalk modelling.

The plate is signed on the lower right: IV.MI.AG.FL./.MAF. This can be deciphered: 'Invenit Michelangelo Florentini / Marcantonio fecit'; 'Invented by Michelangelo the Florentine / Marcantonio made it'. This is the first use of the term 'invenit' which distinguishes the creator of an image from the engraver, a practice which became standard in the following centuries.

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More information


D. Landau and P. Parshall, The Renaissance print 1470-155 (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1994)


Height: 210.000 mm
Width: 134.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1868-8-22-55 (Bartsch 63.488)



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