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The Death of Ananias

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1516 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Musi, Agostino dei (engraver)
    Raphael, born 1483 - died 1520 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    engraving on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Alexander Dyce

  • Museum number:

    DYCE.1065

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case DG, shelf 48

This print represents the moment when Ananias is struck down and dies after lying to Saint Peter about the proportion of earnings he is giving to the Church.

This print is in reverse of the Raphael's Cartoon of the same subject. 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.

This is the only one of three engravings done in Raphael's lifetime by engravers in his circle, which carries his name. The squared pavement seen in the Cartoon is missing in this print and there are major differences between it and the Cartoon in the two top corners. Differences between the engravings and the Cartoons show that engravers in the sixteenth century were working from preparatory drawings, not the Cartoons themselves. Although there are differences, it is noticeable that the prints produced by engravers associated with Raphael give a much more complete idea of the overall compositions than prints produced by other printmakers later in the sixteenth century who did not have privileged access to the artist.

Physical description

Ananias lies dying on the left of the foreground. To the right a man and woman react in horror. On a raised platform in the centre background a group of men stand, Saint Peter in the middle passing judgement on Ananias. In the background left people are carrying goods or counting money and on the right a man is handing money over to one of the men on the platform. A couple leave via steps to the right of the background. Through a square opening on the left is an archway, revealing statue, tree and two obelisks.

This print is in reverse of the design from which it is derived. It differs from Raphael's cartoon in the floor and in the top left and right corners. The landscape seen through the opening of the original has here been replaced by buildings, and the staircase leads directly outside while in the original it is next to a wall with a window.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)

Date

ca. 1516 (made)

Artist/maker

Musi, Agostino dei (engraver)
Raphael, born 1483 - died 1520 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

engraving on paper

Marks and inscriptions

RAPH. VRB / INVET
lower right corner

Dimensions

Height: 24.9 cm, Width: 39.3 cm

Descriptive line

Death of Ananias; from a design by Raphael for the tapestries in the Sistine Chapel; engraving by Agostino Veneziano (Agostino dei Musi); Italian School; 1516.

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 : Printed by G.E. Eyre and W. Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1874.
Gilpin, William. An Essay Upon Prints., 1768, p. 50-51.
Bartsch, Adam von. Peintre-Graveur, 1808-1821, Vol. XIV.
Strauss, Walter L. Illustrated Bartsch, 1978-
Miller, Liz. 'From Marcantonio Raimondi to the Postcard: Prints of the Raphael Cartoons'. Display leaflet, 1995.
Shearman, John. Raphael's Cartoons in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen and the tapestries for the Sistine Chapel. London, Phaidon, 1972.
Fermor, Sharon. The Raphael Tapestry Cartoons: Narrative, Decoration, Design. London, Scala Books in association with the Victoria and Albery Museum.

Labels and date

This print is the opposite way round from the Cartoon. This is the only one of three engravings done in Raphael's lifetime by engravers in his circle, which carries his name. The squared pavement seen in the Cartoon is missing in this print and there are major differences between it and the Cartoon in the two top corners. Differences between the engravings and the Cartoons show that engravers in the sixteenth century were working from preparatory drawings, not the Cartoons themselves. Although there are differences, it is noticeable that the prints produced by engravers associated with Raphael give a much more complete idea of the overall compositions than prints produced by other printmakers later in the sixteenth century who did not have privileged access to the artist. [1995]

Production Note

first state, ca. 1516

Materials

Printing ink; Paper

Techniques

Engraving (printing process)

Subjects depicted

Crowd scenes; Raphael Cartoons; Drapes

Categories

Prints; Religion; Christianity

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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