- Museum number
Saturn; the deity in the sky identified by an inscription: 'SATVRNO' riding a chariot drawn by a two-headed dragon; the wheels of the chariot with signs of the zodiac inscribed: 'CAPICORNIO' and 'AQVARIO'; below the various occupations of country life (e.g. the slaughtering of pigs, ploughing, threshing and cutting wood), with monks by a monastery and in the left foreground a prison with a man in the stocks. c.1464.
- Production date
- 1464 (circa)
Height: 323 millimetres
Width: 217 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is the first in the series of seven (almost certainly originally eight) prints of the so-called 'original' Planets, a set of engravings dating from around 1464. The impressions are certainly Florentine and are generally now thought to be the work of Baccio Baldini or his studio. The dating of these works is known because the original set must predate the cruder and smaller size copies, which can be fixed to the year 1465; indeed, the BM group of copies has a calendar frontispiece that reports the dates for the Easter from 1465 to 1517. Hind suggests that from the dimensions of the plates the series were engraved on four copper plates, each with a subject on one side. He suggests that the pairs were as follows: 1 and 5 (or 3); 2 and 6; 4 and 7; 3 (or 5) and 8 (the presumed calendar). The format of these prints is uniform, with a representation of the planet in the sky above a scene with figures engaged in activities supposedly influenced by that constellation: in the present case labourers in the field by Saturn.
The 'original' set Planets occur in two states, the second reworked in more open cross-hatching. A complete set of the second state is in the Bibliotheque National, Paris (see G. Lambert, Les Premières Gravures Italiennes quattrocento-début de cinquecento, Inventaire de la collection du department des Estampes et de la Photographie, Paris, 1999, nos. 129-37). The BM has two examples of the second state (Mars and Sun; Hind A.III.3 and 4) which can be compared to the first state, showing how heavy shading has been added in the place of the delicate - and presumably worn out- feathery hatching in the orginal plate. As regards the first state, aside from the BM, complete sets are found in the Museo Civico, Pavia - from which the measurements in Hind's catalogue are taken (the BM examples are in certain cases trimmed) - and in the Rothschild collection in the Louvre, Paris.
For a new entry for the entire set see Mark J. Zucker, 'The Illustrated Bartsch', vol. 24, part 1, 1993, pp. 94-102).
This print was issued as a black and white facsimile by the British Museum in 'Reproductions of Prints in the British Museum', New [Second] Series Part I (Early Italian Prints), Published by the Trustees in 1886, where it was number I and described there as 'Florentine School, XV. Century. The Planet Saturn.'; (Shelfmark 245*.b.15).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number