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(Italian, 15th century)
Dudley P. Allen Fund 1924.432.14
Catalogue raisonné: Hind E.I.14a
This engraving is part of the Tarocchi group marked with the letter “D,” and named Apollo and the Muses. In Greek mythology, the nine Muses (Calliope, Urania, Terpsichore, Erato, Polyhymnia, Thalia, Melpomene, Euterpe, and Clio) were the daughters of Zeus, king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, the Titaness of memory. The Muses were goddesses presiding over different branches of the arts and sciences. Their leader and supervisor was Apollo, the god of light, music, prophecy, and poetry.
Here, Erato is personified as a full-length female figure, in profile to the right, and set in an imaginary landscape. Her dancelike pose and the tambourine she carries suggest that she is the Muse of the dance. Erato was also regarded as the Muse of lyric and love poetry.
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