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  • Place of origin:

    Italy (probably, drawn)

  • Date:

    ca. mid 15th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Finiguerra, Maso, born 1426 - died 1464 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and bistre, highly finished

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Alexander Dyce

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case DG, shelf 18

Physical description

Venus, standing, partially draped, holding a bow in her right hand, and a vase in her left, from which water is flowing to Cupid, who is reclining on the ground; on the other side, at the back of the Goddess, is a boy, with a caduceus; above is inscribed, in a semicircle, VENERI VLCANI VXORI DICATVM; Pen and bistre, highly finished.

Place of Origin

Italy (probably, drawn)


ca. mid 15th century (made)


Finiguerra, Maso, born 1426 - died 1464 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and bistre, highly finished

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed, in a semicircle, as part of drawing.

The initials of the artist, I. F. T., are on a tablet beneath, transposed for engraving, and may be read thus, 'Tommaso Finiguerra incidit.'


Height: 10.8 in, Width: 8.4 in

Object history note

From the Collection of Richard Cosway, R.A., and probably the drawing described in the sale catalogue of his collection, No. 362, as by Andrea Mantegna.

Descriptive line

Drawing, Venus, with a bow, pouring out a libation, accompanied by two cupids, school of Mantegna, Mantuan school, mid 15th century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

DYCE COLLECTION. A Catalogue of the Paintings, Miniatures, Drawings, Engravings, Rings and Miscellaneous Objects Bequeathed by The Reverend Alexander Dyce. London : South Kensington Museum, 1874.
Ward-Jackson, Peter, Italian Drawings. Volume I. 14th-16th century, London, 1979, pp. 18-19

The following is the full text of the entry:

school of
MANTEGNA, ANDREA (1431-1506)


Venus, with a bow, pouring out a libation, accompanied by two cupids

Inscribed at the top 'VENERI VLCANI UXOR I DlCATUl\\'

Below, on a tablet, the initials '1FT.' Inscribed on the back of the mount in ink in an old hand 'G.91. del Mantegna' and in pencil in a modern hand '647' and 'RC'

Pen and brown ink; the corners cut off
II X 8 1/2 (280 x 215) Dyce 148

PROVENANCE R. Cosway (Lugt 629: possibly lot 362, described as by Mantegna, in the sale catalogue, 14-22 February 1822); Dyce Bequest 1869

LITERATURE Dyce Catalogue no. 148 (as by Maso Finiguerra); A. M. Hind, Catalogue of early Italian engravings in the British Museum, 1910, p. 358; Reitlinger, p. 7, no. 8 and pl, 3; A. M. Hind, Early Italian Engraving, 1948, part 2, 5, p. 26, no. 20; Popham and Pouncey, pp. 94 and 103
As Popham and Pouncey point out, the Venus is adapted from a figure of Diana in a drawing by Mantegna in the British Museum (no. 1861-8-10-2: Popham and Pouncey, no. 156 and pl. 148) They suggest that the initials IFT on our sheet are a later addition. The same initials, not necessarily an artist's signature, occur on an engraving by a follower of Mantegna showing Hercules and the Hydra (Bartsch, 13, p. 324, no. 12; Hind, Early Italian Engraving, 6, pl. 518). The engraver's drawing is in the British Museum (Popham and Pouncey, no. 163, pl. 150). Hind considered that technically our drawing is sufficiently near to the engraving to suggest an identity of hand. But these technical similarities are common to more than one artist who worked under the influence of Mantegna. Popham and Pouncey see no connection between our drawing and the engraver's design in the British Museum.

The author of the Dyce Catalogue doubtless attributed the Dyce drawing to Maso Finiguerra because Mariette had suggested that the monogram IFT on the engraving might be read backwards as Tommaso Finiguerra Ineidit (Bottari, Raccolta di lettere, Milan, 2, 1822, p. 330).
The drawing is a good deal rubbed and damaged all over, and a piece is torn away in the bottom left corner. See also the note on no. 14 below, a similar drawing, ascribed to Parentino.


Bistre; Pen and ink



Subjects depicted

Vase; Boy; Caduceus




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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