- Museum number
Arithmetic; an aged woman counting coins in her hands, with rays of light emanating from her head; inscribed at lower left: 'C', at lower centre: 'ARITMETRICHA XXV' and at lower right: 'Z5'; encircled by a frame of diamonds. c.1465
- Production date
- 1465 (circa)
Height: 180 millimetres
Width: 101 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The print belongs to the first version (called 'E series') of a group of fifty engravings traditionally known as the 'Tarocchi Cards of Mantegna' (for this set see the entry for Hind E.I.1a: P&D 1895-9-15-1). It is one of ten images in the third group of the set marked with the letter "C" and illustrates the 'Liberal Arts', branches of medieval and early Renaissance learning. Their iconography and order derive from the 'Marriage of Mercury and Philology' ('De Nuptiis Mercurii et Philologiae'), a fifth-century allegorical treatise by the North African author Martianus Capella. He described only the classical seven Liberal Arts and divided them into a lower group called 'Trivium' (Grammar, Rhetoric and Dialectic) and a higher one called 'Quadrivium' (Music, Geometry, Arithmetic and Astronomy). In the Tarocchi engravings the total number was raised to ten, with the addition to the Quadrivium of Poetry, Philosophy and Theology.
Unusually the print does not follow the description in Capella's work (she is described there as a great beauty), although the motif of the rays of light emanating from the figure's head probably does derives from there.
Other impressions of the print are in Vienna; Paris; Berlin; Boston; Florence (Galleria degli Uffizi), Florence (Biblioteca Nazionale); Chantilly; Ottawa (National Gallery of Canada); in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York); in the Chicago Art Institute; in the Cleveland Museum of Art; Hamburg; in the Rothschild collection (Louvre, Paris); in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Naples (Museo di Capodimonte); in the Gabinetto Nazionale delle Stampe (Rome); Pavia (Raccolta Malaspina, Museo Civico); in the National Gallery of Art (Washington); and elsewhere.
See also Jay A. Levinson, Konrad Oberhuber, and Jacquelyn Sheehan, Early Italian Engravings from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1973, no. 38.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number