- Museum number
- Series: Signorum Veterum Icones
Sculpture of the Laocoon Group; front and side view; Laocoon in the middle and his two sons at left and right entwined with the giant snakes, fighting for their life
- Production date
- 1669-1671 (c.)
Height: 231 millimetres
Width: 181 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The statuary group, now in the Vatican in Rome (inv. nos. 1059, 1064, 1067) was attributed by Pliny to the Rhodian artists Hagesandros, Polydoros and Athenodoros, where it was located in 'Titi imperatoris domo'.
The etchings show the group in reverse after a lost drawing by Donkcer, with the right hands of the sons damaged. In his list of contents and locations, De Bisschop repeats part of Pliny's text (with reference to book and chapter numbers). His texts include the names of the sculptors, Pliny's high appraisal of the work, the place where it once stood and its having been carved from one block of stone. He also says that the group had been found in 1506 by the Roman citizen Felix in his vineyard near the cistern of the baths of Titus, generally called 'Sette Sale', and then tells the story that Michelangelo, having been asked by the Pope to restore the broken group, refused to do so and instead assiduously made Laocoon's missing raised arm of stucco but did not give it the finishing touch. This he did, according to De Bisschop, because he did not want to place himself on an equal footing with the great Rhodian artists, maintaining that such works have survived in order to astonish the spectators and have them admire the divine ingenuity of the ancients, and not to imitate or to equal them. De Bisschop mentions the sculpture not only in his list of contents and locations, but also in his dedication of 'Icones I', where he records his own view that Laocoon embodies manly old age. The statue was depicted from two different angles, each on separate plate. For all two plates see: 1901,1022.2531.17-18.
For more information about this edition and other present volumes in the British Museum see comment 1850,0810.652.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- For comment see: 1901,1022.2531.1
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number