- Museum number
Entombment, after Barocci; Jesus's body is lifted on a white shroud towards a coffin at right where Mary Magdalene kneels; Mary weeps flanked by two other women; on a slab in the foreground at left is the crown of thorns, nail, pliers and hammer; on a rocky outcrop above are the three crosses; arched design
- Production date
- 1595 (c.)
Height: 600 millimetres
Width: 358 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Text from M.Bury, 'The Print in Italy 1550-1620', BM, London 2001, no. 68
Federigo Borromeo, to whom the print is dedicated, is denominated as Archbishop of Milan, which would date it to in or after 1595. Aegidius, with his uncles Jan and Raphael, left Munich in 1595 and established themselves in Verona. They were in Venice by 1597. The verses in the lower margin are by the Veronese poet Flaminio Valerini; this gives strong support to Limouze's opinion that it was engraved in Verona. Sadeler, presumably with the support of his uncles, appears to have published it himself; he signed the dedication. He will have commissioned Valerini to write the verses. The dedication to Federico Borromeo may have been aimed at winning powerful support, and also probably a present.
Barocci had originally painted the picture, from which this print is derived, between 1579 and 1582 as the altarpiece for the chapel of the Confraternita della Croce e Sagramento in Senigallia. The success of the picture created major conservation problems. Bellori reported that it was continually being copied (Bellori, 1976, p.189; for the consequent damage it suffered see Bauer, 1986, pp.355-57). Sadeler may have drawn it himself on his first visit to Italy in 1593 (Olsen, 1962, p.170, thought that a drawing in the Louvre - inv.2852 - was by Sadeler, in preparation for the engraving, but it is rejected as Sadeler by Limouze, 1990, pp.102-103).
This reproductive engraving shows the picture the right way around with its original arched top, and in general the representation is very accurate. There are some subtle adjustments of relative size which seem to bring the figure group closer: the fence and gate in the middle-ground is increased in size and thus comes forward, compressing the space for the figures. The way the ribbon on which the inscription is written hoods the coat of arms, creates a forward plane behind which the pictorial space opens up. This powerful illusionistic effect is one that he had successfully used earlier in his impressive engraving of the Flagellation of Christ after a composition of Cesari d'Arpino (1593; Hollstein 46: for an impression see 1949,1008.77).
In Munich, between his two Italian visits, Sadeler had produced a spectacular engraving of Barocci's Calling of Peter and Andrew which has an extraordinary bold clarity (1594; Hollstein 40). In the Entombment he developed a softness and an atmospheric quality, while losing nothing of the bold shadows. In general the experience of Italy for Sadeler was to encourage him to develop a monumental style which could accommodate work in which volume and the play of light were more important than local detail. Baldinucci (1767, p.8) admired Sadeler enormously. He saw him as having introduced the style of engraving that prevailed in the seventeenth century: 'non dubitiamo punto d'affermare che egli riuscisse il miglior artefice di quanti erano stati avanti a se, essendo egli anche stato il primo a scoprire una certa sodezza di taglia, colla quale pote dar luce a tanti e tanti che dopo di lui hanno professata tale arte' (we have no hesitation in stating that he was a better craftsmen that all those who came before him, and that he was the first to find a way to give a robustness to his engraved line, by means of which he was able to enlighten so many who practised the art after him) remarking that he had brought it to a stage of perfection where it could compete with painting itself. Evelyn mentioned this print as an especially fine example of his work (Evelyn, ed.1906, p.68).
(In a later note, Michael Bury noted that information about Stradanus's being entrusted in 1587 with Barocci's 'cartone preparatorio': he gives as a reference B. Cleri, 'Notizie da Palazzo Albani', 1993/2000.)
- 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