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The Seven Famous Cartons [sic] of Raphael Urbin

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1720 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Simon Gribelin II, born 1661 - died 1733 (printmaker)
    Raphael, born 1483 - died 1520 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    engraving on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Alexander Dyce

  • Museum number:

    DYCE.2507

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The subject of this print is the Healing of the Lame Man by Saints Peter and John. The event took place at the Temple of Jerusalem at a gate known as the Beautiful Gate, which led to the entry into the Women's Court, where Israelite men and women could make offerings for the upkeep of the Temple. The man was begging for alms but Peter and John instead gave him the gift of being able to walk. The spiral columns shown in this image were modelled on those of the tomb of St Peter in St Peter's Basilica.

This print is in reverse of the Cartoon from which it is derived. The so-called Raphael Cartoons are seven full size designs for tapestries by the great Italian Renaissance artist Raphael (1483-1520). They illustrate passages from the Bible concerning the lives of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. None of them is smaller than ten feet high by thirteen feet wide. They belong to Her Majesty the Queen and have been on loan to this museum since 1865. The earliest print relating to the Raphael Cartoons dates from 1516, the year in which Raphael received final payment for the commission. It inaugurates an extraordinary case study in the history of printmaking, stretching over more than four hundred and fifty years and across a wide range of printmaking techniques.

Simon Gribelin was the first printmaker to issue a complete set of prints of the Cartoons. When they came out in 1707 they carried a letterpress titlepage dedicating them to Queen Anne. Although they met with success it was nothing compared to that which greeted the set produced by Nicholas Dorigny in 1719.

Gribelin was born in France but came to England around 1680. He was the most important silver engraver in London at the beginning of the eighteenth century. This meant engraving on the surfaces of watches, tea caddies, salvers etc. He was also a printmaker. In the 1690s he published two prints after history paintings by Charles Le Brun, then in 1706 he engraved an altar dish with a scene of the Deposition based on a picture by Annibale Carracci. These may have led to the idea of engraving the Cartoons.

The antiquarian George Vertue wrote in his notebooks "in London about 1700, the state of Print Engraving on Copper was at a low ebb… til about 1707. Mr Griblins cartons in print from the pictures of Raphael were well received, and vast numbers of them [sold]."

As well as visual information each print delivers written information in the form of a caption in English and Latin giving the title, the biblical reference, the names of the artist and the engraver, and stating the location of the Cartoons.

Horace Walpole, writing in 1763, said of these prints "their success was very great having never been completely engraved before; but they were too small a volume, nor had Gribelin anything of greatness in his manner or capacity: His works have no merit than finicalness, and that not in perfection, can give them." Dr. Johnson defined finicialness as "superfluous nicety or foppery".

Each of the individual engravings shows the Cartoon in reverse while the view of the Cartoon gallery shows them the right way round.

In March 1735 Gribelin's son was selling sets of his late father's prints of the Cartoons for 15 shillings. By 1753 they had dropped to half a guinea (ten shillings and sixpence) in the price list of the print-publisher John Bowles. The following year in the catalogue of the print-publisher Henry Overton II, they were listed under "Cheap Sets of Prints".

Physical description

The subject is the Healing of the Lame Man by Saints Peter and John at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple of Jerusalem.

Scene showing a covered walkway of rows of spiral columns decorated with acanthus and putti climbing amongst foliage. A crowd waiting in the walkway watches as Peter and John help a lame man, sitting cross-legged in the centre foreground, to stand up. Another man with staff kneels nearby to the left. In the crowd to the right are two young children, one carrying two birds, a woman holding a baby and a woman carrying a basket of good, probably as a temple offering. The image is bordered by parallel lines forming a moulded frame.

This print is in reverse of the cartoon from which it is derived but faithfully reproduces its compositional details except in raising the height of the image to show more of the ceililng.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1720 (published)

Artist/maker

Simon Gribelin II, born 1661 - died 1733 (printmaker)
Raphael, born 1483 - died 1520 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

engraving on paper

Marks and inscriptions

The Lame Man healed by Peter & John. / Acts Chap:3. / Grav'd by Sim:Gribelin from the Cartoon of Raphael d'Urbin, / in the Royal Palace of Hampton-Court , in the Year 170 [sic] [ ie 1705]

Dimensions

Height: 22 cm sheet, Width: 25.4 cm sheet, Height: 18.6 cm platemark, Width: 21.8 cm platemark

Descriptive line

The Healing of the Lame Man; one of a set of seven (DYCE.2505 to 2511) engravings of the Raphael cartoons; engraving on paper; by Simon Gribelin (II); French School; engraved 1707; published 1720.

Labels and date

As well as visual information each print delivers written information in the form of a caption in English and Latin giving the title, the biblical reference, the names of the artist and the engraver, and stating the location of the Cartoons. [1995]

Production Note

later impression, original engraved 1707

Materials

Paper; Printing ink

Techniques

Engraving (printing process)

Subjects depicted

Peter (Saint); John (Saint John the Evangelist); Healing; Miracle; Spiral columns; Lamps (lighting devices); Crowd scenes; Putti; Foliation (pattern); Ornament; Raphael Cartoons

Categories

Prints; Religion; Christianity

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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