Print

c. 1505-07 (engraved)
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This print, engraved by Zoan Andrea after a drawing by Giovanni Pietro da Birago, shows an elaborate candelabrum. This type of decoration is known as ‘grotesque’, whose name derives from the Italian word grottesco. It was inspired by ancient Roman designs discovered at the end of the 15th century in the underground rooms, or grottoes, of the Golden House of Emperor Nero in Rome. Grotesque ornament was used to decorate a wide range of objects, such as ceramics, and the style was much copied by Renaissance artists.

The candelabrum design draws from Roman antiquity not only in its style, but also in its subject matter, which is drawn from classical myths. In this print, a Triton, a sea god, son of Poseidon and Amphritete, is shown playing an instrument, and above him are two infant fauns.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Engraving
Brief Description
Giovanni Pietro da Birago and Giovanni Antonio da Brescia, plate 4 from set of 12 ornamental panels. Italian, c. 1505-7.
Physical Description
Ornamental panel with a triton and two infant satyrs.
Dimensions
  • Height: 53cm
  • Width: 8.3cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
Signed in monogram .Z.A.
Object history
With the discovery in the late 1400s of Roman grotesque wall painting (case 21) candelabra became more elaborate, using a wide range of different elements. The designer of this print was a miniature painter; such a composition could only have been done in paint, on a wall or on a decorated page.

See extensive note in Miller (1999) pp. 69-70.
Production
B. XIII, 24.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This print, engraved by Zoan Andrea after a drawing by Giovanni Pietro da Birago, shows an elaborate candelabrum. This type of decoration is known as ‘grotesque’, whose name derives from the Italian word grottesco. It was inspired by ancient Roman designs discovered at the end of the 15th century in the underground rooms, or grottoes, of the Golden House of Emperor Nero in Rome. Grotesque ornament was used to decorate a wide range of objects, such as ceramics, and the style was much copied by Renaissance artists.



The candelabrum design draws from Roman antiquity not only in its style, but also in its subject matter, which is drawn from classical myths. In this print, a Triton, a sea god, son of Poseidon and Amphritete, is shown playing an instrument, and above him are two infant fauns.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • Bartsch, A., Le Peintre-Graveur, 21 vols, Vienna, 1803-21, vol. XIII, 21-32 as Zoan Andrea.
  • Jessen, P., Meister des Ornamentstiches, eine Auswahl aus vier Jahrhunderten, vol. 1, Gotik und Renaissance, Berlin, 1924, 26-9.
  • Hind, A.M., Early Italian Engraving, 7 vols, London, 1938-48, V, no. 10 (1-12) as Master of the Sforza Book of Hours.
  • Berlin, Katalog der Ornamentstich-Sammlung der Staatlichen Kunstbibliothek Berlin, Berlin and Leipzig, 1939, 522.
  • Berliner, R. and Egger, G., Ornamentale Vorlageblätter des 15. bis 19. Jahrhunderts, 3 vols, Munich, 1981, 184-7.
  • Early Italian Engravings from the National Gallery of Art, Exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington (J.A. Levenson, K. Oberhuber, J.L. Sheehan), 1973, 102-13.
  • Ornament and Architecture: Renaissance Drawings, Prints and Books, Exhibition Catalogue, Brown University, Bell Gallery, List Art Center, Providence, Rhode Island, 1980, 48a, b & c.
  • Byrne, J.S., Renaissance Ornament Prints and Drawings, Metropolitan Museum of art, New York, 1981, 76-87.
  • Jean-Richard, P., Ornemanistes du XVe au XVIIe siècles gravures et dessins : XIVe exposition de la Collection Edmond de Rothschild, Exhibition catalogue, Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1987, 137-8.
  • de Jong, M. and de Groot, I., Ornamentprenten in het Rijksprentenkabinet I, 15de & 16de eeuw, 's-Gravenhage, 1988, 585.
  • Miller, E., 16th-century Italian ornament prints in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1999, p. 69 (cat.20).
Collection
Accession Number
E.631-1890

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record createdMay 18, 2005
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