- Museum number
The Judgement of Paris, sitting at left, with Venus, Juno and Pallas Athena, with winged victory above; at top centre the Sun in his chariot preceded by Castor and Pollux on horseback; at lower right two river gods and a naiad; at upper left Jupiter, an eagle, Ganymede, Diana and another goddess; a copy after Marcantonio
- Production date
Height: 291 millimetres
Width: 433 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- After an engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi inspired by Raphael. See Curatorial Comment for Marcantonio's print H. 2. 24.
(Text from Mark Jones, 'Fake?', BM 1990)
Raphael's Judgement of Paris (c. 1512) is one of the most famous engravings of the Italian Renaissance, and marks a high point in the collaboration between Raphael, who designed the composition, and his 'official' engraver Marcantonio Raimondi. Raphael (1483-1520) had moved to Rome to work for Pope Julius II in 1508, and had determined to follow the example of Dürer and others who had gained an international reputation by distributing their designs in printed form. Marcantonio, now also in Rome, was his chosen vehicle. Raphael first trained him to engrave in the style he desired, and then supplied a large number of drawings for him to work on. He also set up his factotum, a man called Il Baviera, to act as their publisher; although there is no evidence, one can assume that the profits were split three ways between the parties.
The success of this operation soon attracted a number of other engravers, most notably Marco da Ravenna and Agostino Veneziano, who tried to get some of the business for themselves. It seems that it was one of them who engraved this very close copy. There is no doubt that it was made by a contemporary, and very little likelihood that it was made by Marcantonio himself. Since it carefully preserves Marcantonio's monogram (MAF, Marcantonio fecit), the only possible conclusion is that it was deliberately intended to deceive, as it succeeded in doing for centuries. Those who noticed the relative hardness of the modelling of the copy put it down to later retouching of the original plate, and it was not until the end of the eighteenth century that Bartsch firmly settled the matter by recognising that two distinct plates were involved.
Literature: A. Bartsch, Le Peintre-Graveur, xiv, Vienna 1813, p. 197, nos 245 and 246; H. Zerner, 'Apropos de faux Marcantoine', Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance XXIII (1961) pp. 477-81. The author is also grateful to David Landau for allowing him to consult the chapter 'From collaboration to reproduction' in the book with Peter Parshall, 'The Renaissaance Print'. The above is based on his work.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1987/8 Nov-Feb, V&A, 'The Image Multiplied'
- Acquisition date
- 1837 (before)
- Acquisition notes
- No indication of provenance on the verso
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number