Title: Mars, Venus and Cupid
Engraving on laid paper
Dimensions: Image: 11 11/16 x 8 3/8 inches (29.7 x 21.3 cm);
Sheet: 11 5/8 x 8 3/8 inches (29.5 x 21.3 cm)
Acquired through the Herbert F. Johnson, Class of 1922, Endowment
Object Number: 87.019.002
A pastiche of Marcantonio's visual influences, this rich impression of Mars, Venus, and Cupid shows his ability to blend seamlessly borrowings from differing visual and artistic styles into an extremely original - and lucrative - style of printmaking. Here northern Italian art is mingled with the Roman idiom; in the foreground we see a Venus culled from the imagery of Giorgione, whom Marcantonio knew in Venice, and beside her a Mars whose trunk clearly emulates the Belvedere Torso in Rome, probably known from a drawing by Michelangelo. Supporting the foreground is a detailed Germanic landscape whose buildings and trees belong to the engravings of Dürer, whose work Marcantonio collected and copied avidly. Although relatively little is known about the life of Marcantonio aside from his engravings, it is clear that from early in his career he was a student of antique art. Executed in 1508, Mars, Venus, and Cupid shows the growing importance of classicizing figural engravings in the print world of the early sixteenth century. In the innovative shading and sculptural modeling of the figures, one can easily see the skill that was to make MarcantonioÕs collaboration with Raphael in Rome such a fruitful one. (From “A Handbook of the Collection: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art," 1998)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.