- Museum number
Hercules standing in a niche victorious over the hydra that is below, surrounded by ornament motifs. c.1550-58
- Production date
Height: 349 millimetres
Width: 210 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Text from Michael Bury, 'The Print in Italy 1550-1620', BM, London 2001, cat.16).
The plate is cut (shaped) to allow for the claw of the Hydra to overspill the frame. Usually copperplates were ordered from coppersmiths, but Ghisi, as a skilled worker in metal may have shaped his own plate. The result is a dramatic heightening of the illusionistic qualities of the image. The plate itself survives in the Calcografia Nazionale in Rome (Grelle Iusco, 1996, p.308).
The print was inserted as a frontispiece into some copies of Bertani's book on the ionic order, 'Gli oscuri et dificili passi dell'opera ionica di Vitruvio', published in Mantua in 1558 (Mortimer cat.548). At the top are the arms of Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga (1505-1563), to whom the book was dedicated. However the print is not integral to the book and is not described in the register of the colophon. In the copy in the Soane Museum in London, it is printed onto a sheet with very wide margins and the left margin is folded over to allow just enough to sew the sheet into the book.
Ghisi engraved several of Bertani's designs. They were probably friends. In his book, Bertani mentions them visiting together the temple of Aesculapius in Rome during the pontificate of Paul III (1534-49; see Boorsch and Lewis, 1985, p.15)
The drawing for the print by Bertani exists in the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number