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Disegni Del Mantegna

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Venice (printed)

  • Date:

    1795-7 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Novelli, Francesco, born 1764 - died 1836 (engraver)
    Zoppo, Marco, born 1432 - died 1478 (draughtsman)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    printer's ink, paper, engraving

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case I, shelf 2, box A

Despite Francecso Novelli’s series of prints being titled ‘Disegni Del Mantegna’, the drawings which the engravings are based upon are in fact those produced by Italian painter and draughtsman Marco Zoppo. Discovered in Padua during the eighteenth century, the drawings were wrongly attributed to Andrea Mantegna by Novelli, resulting in him producing his series of prints in regards to Mantegna. The title-page of the series features a bust portrait of Mantegna, as well as an inscription praising the artist, whilst a majority of the plates feature Mantegna’s name as the draughtsman. The collection of drawings, which are now held in the collection of the British Museum, were considered to be the work of Mantegna until 1923, when Claude Phillips instigated the notion that the drawings could have in fact been produced by Zoppo. Although fifty drawings in pen and ink on parchment by Zoppo are featured in the volume, the collection of engravings by Novelli contains forty-four plates, with a frontispiece, and two pages of dedication featured alongside. Despite the dedication noting that the series contained fifty plates, only forty-four were produced. The series would have originally been issued as loose plates, so the card portfolio that the plates are now bound within would have been a later addition.

Physical description

Engraved bust portrait of a warrior, turned slightly to the left, with production names inscribed in lower corners.

Place of Origin

Venice (printed)


1795-7 (printed)


Novelli, Francesco, born 1764 - died 1836 (engraver)
Zoppo, Marco, born 1432 - died 1478 (draughtsman)

Materials and Techniques

printer's ink, paper, engraving

Marks and inscriptions

Plate number inscribed in upper right corner of plate

A. Mantegna dis
Inscribed in lower left corner of plate

F. Novelli inc
Inscribed in lower right corner of plate


Height: 394 mm Sheet, Width: 278 mm Sheet, Height: 231 mm Plate, Width: 172 mm Plate, Height: 143 mm Image, Width: 113 mm Image

Descriptive line

Plate 22 from Francesco Novelli's 'Disegni Del Mantegna', presenting a bust portrait of a warrior, looking to the left.

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

Popham, A E; Pouncey, Philip, The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, London, BMP, 1950


Laid paper


Copper engraving

Subjects depicted





Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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