- Museum number
Knight; a man in contemporary garb holding a dagger, accompanied by a page carrying a sword; inscribed at lower left: 'E', at lower centre: 'CHAVALIER VI' and at lower right: '6'; encircled by a frame of diamonds. c.1465
- Production date
- 1465 (circa)
Height: 181 millimetres
Width: 100 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 the ten images of the first group of the set, which is marked with the letter "E" and illustrates the 'Conditions of Man' in order of ascending importance.
The figure of the knight corresponds to that of the 'Knave' ("Fante"), which is one of the four court cards in regular Tarocchi (the others are the Knight, Queen and King). A number of comparisons may be made with the Knaves in the so-called 'Visconti-Sforza Tarocchi' (a series of playing-cards painted around 1450 and attributed, except for six later cards, to the Lombard artists Bonifacio Bembo or Francesco Zavattari, now divided between the Morgan Library, New York, the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo and the Colleoni collection also in Bergamo), and with numerous figures in the frescoes by Francesco del Cossa (especially the 'Month of April') at the Palazzo Schifanoia in Ferrara (1469-70). The position of the dagger between his legs and his action of holding the pommel may well be a sexual reference directed to the young page; a comparable image is found on page 18 recto of Zoppo's Rosebery Album (see H. Chapman, in exhib. cat., BM, Padua in the 1450s, Marco Zoppo and his Contemporaries, 1998, no. 15).
Other impressions of the print are in Vienna; Paris; Berlin; Boston; Florence (Galleria degli Uffizi), Florence (Biblioteca Nazionale); Chantilly; 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); 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. 18.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number