- Museum number
The muse Thalia, copy after one of a series of Ferrarese engravings; seated to front and playing a viol, a landscape indicated in the background. 1495-1500
Pen and black ink
- Production date
Height: 184 millimetres
Width: 104 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Summary of J. Rowlands, 'Drawings by German Artists and Artists from German-speaking regions of Europe in the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum: the Fifteenth Century, and the Sixteenth Century by Artists born before 1530', London, BM Press, 1993, no. 129:
'This drawing, together with 1952,1011.4; SL,5218.100-102; SL,5218.104-108, are free copies executed by Dürer after engravings from a series of fifty prints which illustrate the medieval hierarchy of the universe (see A.M. Hind, ‘Early Italian Engraving’, i, pp. 221ff, nos. E.1.1-50, pls. 320-69). They have been called 'Tarocchi' prints, although the original purpose of the series is not known. The prints were produced in two sets, both by engravers associated with the artist Francesco del Cossa (c. 1435-77) in Ferrara. The first was already in existence by 1467, as the print of the Emperor occurs in a Bolognese manuscript of that year (cf. F.M. Valeri, ‘Archivio storico dell'arte’, xvii, 1894, pl. v). A second set was copied from the first set in about 1470. Dürer or one of his assistants drew free copies after the 'Tarocchi' of which twenty-one are known, ten being in the British Museum. All of these copies are based on the prints from the earlier series and were executed either in a fine pen with black ink or in a broad pen, usually in brown ink. There are eleven of the former, of which five are in the British Museum (1952,1011.4; SL,5218.100-103), and ten of the latter, of which five are in the collection (SL,5218,104-108). This use of a different pen has prompted some scholars to see them as the work of different hands and done at different dates. It is known from woodcut copies of the ‘Tarocchi’ produced in Wolgemut's workshop for Peter Danhauser in 1493, that Dürer would have known the prints before his departure for Italy. But, the likelihood is that Dürer began to produce his copies at Venice and continued after his return to Nuremberg. Winkler has dated them in 1495/6, whereas Flechsig placed them slightly later in 1496/7. The drawings done with the fine pen may be compared with the ‘Wise Virgin’ in the Albertina, Vienna (inv. no. 3068.D.42; Winkler, ‘Dürer’, i, p. 55, no. 71, repr.) whose lively pen-work is closely akin to them. . Although the second group is less finely executed and while, unlike some of the first, none is tinted with watercolour, they are all robust in character and stylistically entirely credible as the work of Dürer in the first years after his return from Nuremberg.'
Lit from Rowlands: Hausmann, Naumann's Archiv, p. 39, no. 103; Hausmann, p. 110, no. 85; Ephrussi, p. 15; Lippmann, part xxiii, p. 2, no. 213, repr.; Conway, p. 10, under nos. 76-83; Pauli, p. 9, under nos. 166-82; BM Guide, 1928, p. 19, no. 177; Tietze, i, p. 14, no. 58; Flechsig, Dürer, ii, pp. 318ff.; Winkler, Dürer, i, p. 91, no. 122, repr.; Panofsky, ii, p. 102, no. 976; Rowlands, Dürer, p. 9, no. 33; Strauss, i, p. 248, no. 1494/26, repr.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1928 BM London, Guide Woodcuts, Drawings of A. Dürer, no. 177
1971, BM, Dürer no.33
1991 Sept-Dec, Museo Poldi-Pezzoli, Milan, no. 103
2012 April-Aug, Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle, 'Déja-vu?'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: C,07.103