- Museum number
The Last Supper; Christ sits with his apostles at a round table; opposite Christ sits Judas who holds a moneybag in his left hand and looks away, beyond are a number of elaborate twisted columns and at the top of some stairs is scene of Christ washing the feet of his apostles; after Livio Agresti. 1578
- Production date
Height: 525 millimetres
Width: 353 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Text from Michael Bury, 'The Print in Italy 1550-1620', BM, London 2001, no. 73.)
The composition is closely related to a fresco by Livio Agresti in the Oratorio del Gonfalone in Rome. Cort probably worked from a drawing. In the inventory of his possessions made at the time of his death in 1578 there is in fact a record of a drawing by Livio of the Last Supper ('Una carta cene domini facta manu Livii de Foligno', see Bierens de Haan, p.227). This may have been one of Cort's last works.
Bierens de Haan recorded a copy in the same direction, published by Palumbo in 1580, which has 'Cum Privilegio forma segonda' and 'Michelangulus Marrelli fecit'. Michelangelo Marelli is recorded as an engraver working in Rome in the years 1578 to 1580. It is impossible to know whether the words 'Cum Privilegio Forma Prima' were put on the present plate in 1578, showing that the making of a second plate was already envisaged, or whether they were added subsequently. A precisely analogous case is the Martyrdom of St Stephen by Cort with the address of Palumbo, the words 'Cum privilegio forma prima' and the date 1576 (New Hollstein 79). There is a copy of that too, with the date 1577 and the words 'Cum Privilegio Forma Secunda' (New Hollstein, copy a).
The fact that the notation of a 'first plate' and a 'second plate' follows the announcement of the privilege in all cases, leads one to seek the motivation in a desire to ensure that both plates were effectively seen to be covered by that privilege. It reveals very clearly and unambiguously that copies were made of plates by those who owned them. This seems to have happened with great frequency in Cort's career, perhaps because of the enormous success he enjoyed at the time. He himself, in many cases, seems to have been responsible for making replica plates (New Hollstein, p.xxix). The probable reason was to allow the printing of impressions to take place in different locations.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001/2 Sep-Jan, BM, P&D, The Print in Italy 1550-1620
2002 Feb-Mar, New York, Miriam & Ira D Wallach AG, The Print in Italy
2002/3 Sep-Jan, Ottawa, NG of Canada, The Print in Italy 1550-1620
2003 Feb-Apr, Edinburgh, NG of Scotland, The Print in Italy 1550-1620
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number