Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

The Sacrifice at Lystra

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    London (printed)

  • Date:

    1719 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dorigny, Nicholas Sir, born 1658 - died 1746 (printmaker)
    Raphael, born 1483 - died 1520 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    etching and engraving on paper

  • Museum number:

    20288

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case PD, shelf 297

This picture represents the moment when the people of Lystra, impressed when Saints Paul and Barnabas heal a cripple (seen on the right), mistake them as gods Mercury and Jupiter and prepare to make sacrifices in their honour before Paul and Barnabas beg them to stop.

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.

Nicholas Dorigny's prints were the subject of an editorial in the 'Spectator' on the 19th November 1711. "These invaluable pieces are very justly in the Hands of the greatest and most pious sovereign in the World; and cannot be the frequent object of every one at their own leisure; but an engraver is to a painter, what a printer is to an author it is worthy Her Majesty's name, that she has encouraged that noble artist Monsieur Dorigny to publish these works of Raphael." Writing in 1722 about the works of Raphael in Rome, Jonathan Richardson said "That I should write upon what I never saw may appear strange to some; Such may please only to obeserve that My remarks are chiefly upon the way of thinking itself."

The engraver and antiquarian George Vertue had met and spoken with Dorigny. Vertue records that "several gentlemen of note travelling to Rome there found Mr Dorigny who was then in the highest reputation for several engraved works after Raphael. These got him justly the reputation of the first engraver in Europe for which reason several Curious persons persuaded & engaged him to come to England to undertake those Famous Cartons at Hampton Court painted by Raphael...From his coming to England [in 1711] I may justly date the rise of the reputation of the engraving." According to George Vertue, Dorigny acknowledged trying to imitate the great French engraver Gérard Audran when he was studying to improve his engraving style.

The first proposal was that Dorigny engrave the Cartoons for the exclusive use of Queen Anne as presents for the nobility and visiting diplomats. Dorigny's price for the work of £4000-£5000 meant this idea was quashed and the prints were sold by subscription at four guineas a set. Dorigny was provided with limited royal patronage in the form of lodgings at Hampton Court, coals, and a bottle of wine a day.

The lettering in this set of prints is entirely in Latin underlining how they were aimed at an elite educated market. Listed are the titles, biblical quotations, details of the lcoations of the Cartoons and their sizes.

Queen Anne had died while Dorigny was still at work. On the first of April 1719 Dorigny presented to King George I two sets of his newly completed prints of the Cartoons. On the 13th June 1720 Dorigny received a knighthood. He was the first of only two individuals in the history of British art to be knighted for having made particular prints. The other was Sir Robert Strange, knighted in 1787 for an engraving of Benjamin West's 'Apotheosis of the Princes Octavius and Alfred'.

Physical description

In a town centre square with classical buildings a crowd has gathered to watch a sacrifice of two bulls and a ram. In the centre a man raises an axe to kill the bull standing in the centre. To the right, Saints Paul and Barnabas stand on a raised platform and there is a square plinth (altar) ornamented with carved festoons, angles, rams heads, animals a jug and a medallion, behind this stand two boys, one holdind a decorated box and the other playing pipes. In the background is a statue of Mercury on a plinth and behind is a landscape representation with more buildings. Lower left of the image a man has thrown away his walking sticks.

This print is in reverse of the cartoon from which it is derived but is faithful in compositional detail.

Place of Origin

London (printed)

Date

1719 (made)

Artist/maker

Dorigny, Nicholas Sir, born 1658 - died 1746 (printmaker)
Raphael, born 1483 - died 1520 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

etching and engraving on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Raphael Sanctius Urbinas pinxit
left side of lower margin

Eq. Nicolaus Dorigny Gallus Del. & sculp.
right side of lower margin

PAULUS ET BARNABAS LYSTRE
Title lower margin, centred

Et quidam vir Lystris infirmus pedibus sedebat, claudus ex utero matris suae, qui nunquam ambulaverat. Hic audivit Paulum loquentem. Qui intuitus eum, et videns quia fidem haberat ut salvus fieret, dixit magna voce, Surge Super pedes tuos rectus. Et exilivit et / ambulabat. Turbae autem cum vidissent quuod fecerat Paulus, Levaverunt vocem suam Lycaonice dicentes, Dij similes facti hominibus descenderunt ad nos. Et vocabant Barnabam Jovem: Paulum vero mercurium, quoniam ipse erat dux verbi. Sacerdos quoque Jovis / qui erat ante civitatem, tauros, et coronas ante Januas afferens, cum populis volebat sacrificare. Quod cum audierunt Apostoli Barnabas et Paulus conscissis tunicis suis exilierunt in turbas. &c. Act. Apos. XIIII.
Lower margin

Exemplar asservatur in Palatio MAG. BRIT. REG. dicto HAMPTON-COVRT Long. ped. 18. alt. ped. 11. pol. 4.
Lower margin centred below rest of text

7
Plate number lower right

Dimensions

Height: 53.3 cm sheet, Width: 74.5 cm sheet, Height: 51.8 cm platemark

Object history note

NB. While the term ‘cripple’ has been used in this record, it has since fallen from usage and is now considered offensive. The term is repeated in this record in its original historical context.

Descriptive line

The Sacrifice at Lystra by Sir Nicholas Dorigny (1657-1746); from a cartoon by Raphael for the tapestries in the Sistine Chapel; etching and engraving; British; originally printed 1719, a later impression.

The V&A holds two other sets of the Pinacotheca Hamptoniana; see Museum No. E.656-1996 (bound volume) and Museum Nos. Dyce.2560 to Dyce.2566.

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

Dorigny, Nicholas. Pinacotheca Hamptoniana. London, 1719.
Miller, Liz. 'From Marcantonio Raimondi to the Postcard: Prints of the Raphael Cartoons'. Display leaflet, 1995.
Gilpin, William. An Essay Upon Prints., 1768, p. 83.
Meyer, A. Apostles in England: Sir James Thornhill and the Legacy of the Rapael Taspestry Cartoons. Exhibition catalogue, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, New York, 1996, pp.27-30, figs 12 and 16 [other impressions exhibited].
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

Queen Anne had died while Dorigny was still at work. On the first of April 1719 Dorigny presented to King George I two sets of his newly completed prints of the Cartoons. On the 13th June 1720 Dorigny received a knighthood. He was the first of only two individuals in the history of British art to be knighted for having made particular prints. The other was Sir Robert Strange, knighted in 1787 for an engraving of Benjamin West's 'Apotheosis of the Princes Octavius and Alfred'. [1995]

Production Note

later impression, first printed 1719

Materials

Printing ink; Paper

Techniques

Etching (printing process); Engraving (printing process)

Subjects depicted

Healing; Columns (architectural elements); Rams (animals); Boxes (containers); Classical statues; Crowd scenes; Festoons; Axe; Ornament; Medallions (ornament areas); Altar; Townscapes (representations); Sacrifice; Landscapes (representations); Plinths; Clothing, Costume; Bulls (animal); Sandals; Angels; Miracle; Raphael Cartoons

Categories

Prints; Religion; Christianity

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.