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The Death of Ananias

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (printed)

  • Date:

    1518 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Carpi, Ugo da (printmaker)
    Raphael, born 1483 - died 1520 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    chiaroscuro woodcut from four blocks

  • Museum number:

    15895

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case EW, shelf 123

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 Raphael's Cartoon of the same subject and differs from it in some details. 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.

Although Ugo da Carpi was a contemporary of Raphael's he was not in the same situation as Marcantonio Raimondi and Agostino Veneziano who worked directly with the artist. Early impressions of this print carry a warning that "anyone printing these images without the permission of the author will incur the excommunication of Pope Leo X". Ugo da Carpi's efforts to protect his artistic property seem rather ironical given that it is now thought that this chiaroscuro woodcut is a direct copy of Agostino Veneziano's engraving of the same subject.

Physical description

Ananias lies dying on the left of the foreground. 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, statue, tree and two obelisks. Colours are pale brown, two shades of dark brown and black lines.

This print differs from Raphael's Cartoon of the subject 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 (printed)

Date

1518 (printed)

Artist/maker

Carpi, Ugo da (printmaker)
Raphael, born 1483 - died 1520 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

chiaroscuro woodcut from four blocks

Marks and inscriptions

RAPHAEL. VRBINAS / PER. VGO. DACARPO.
On front of platform

Dimensions

Height: 24.7 cm trimmed, Width: 38 cm trimmed

Object history note

Part of gift of wood engravings from the collection of John Thompson, 1857

Descriptive line

The Death of Ananias by Ugo da Carpi (ca 1480-?1532); from a design by Raphael for the tapestries in the Sistine Chapel; chiaroscuro woodcut from four blocks; 1518.

The V&A holds another impression, see Museum No. E.1786-1889.

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

Gilpin, William. An Essay Upon Prints., 1768, p. 29-30.
Bartsch, Adam von. Peintre-Graveur, 1808-1821, Vol. XII.
Strauss, Walter L. Illustrated Bartsch, 1978-, Vol. 1.
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

Although Ugo da Carpi was a contemporary of Raphael's he was not in the same situation as Marcantonio Raimondi and Agostino Veneziano who worked directly with the artist. Early impressions of this print carry a warning that "anyone printing these images without the permission of the author will incur the excommunication of Pope Leo X". Ugo da Carpi's efforts to protect his artistic property seem rather ironical given that it is now thought that this chiaroscuro woodcut is a direct copy of Agostino Veneziano's engraving of the same subject. [1995]

Production Note

second state, 1518

Materials

Printing ink; Paper

Techniques

Woodcut

Subjects depicted

Drapes; Raphael Cartoons; Obelisks; Crowd scenes

Categories

Prints; Religion; Christianity; Woodcuts

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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