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Master of the Die (Italian, active 1525-1560), Engraver
Raphael, Sanzio (Italian, b.1483, d.1520), After
Apollo and Marsyas
Circa 1530
189 x 290 mm
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Given 1982 by Mary, Dora and Esmond de Beer through the National Art Collections Fund, London.
The engraver’s monogram of a die with the letter B, seen at the bottom right, has led scholars to call the as yet unidentified engraver of this work the Master of the Die. Various names have been suggested but it is generally agreed that he was attached to the workshop of Raphael’s principal engraver, Marcantonio Raimondi. This print, seen here in a magnificent impression, is a fine example of the Raimondi workshop style.
The Roman poet Ovid tells the story of the musical contest between the god Apollo and the satyr Marsyas. Apollo, angered at Marsyas’ pride in his skill on the flute, challenged him to a competition – the winner was to choose the loser’s punishment. The Muses judged Apollo the winner and condemned Marsyas to be flayed alive. In the print Apollo instructs a slave to sharpen the knife, while one of the Muses looks on. The pose of Marsyas, already bound to a tree, is closely related to that of a famous antique statue of the satyr now in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. A drawing of the statue’s legs by Raphael may be related to a lost drawing for this print.

not on view

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