Aug 25, 2006

Sibyl Reading with a Child Holding a Torch

Sibyl Reading with a Child Holding a Torch


Ugo da Carpi

(Italian, c. 1479–c. 1532)

after a model by


(Italian, 1483–1520)

Chiaroscuro woodcut

Platemark: 26.8 x 21.8 cm (10 9/16 x 8 9/16 in.); Sheet: 27.5 x 22.6 cm (10 13/16 x 8 7/8 in.)

Delia E. Holden Fund 1979.93

Catalogue raisonné: Bartsch 6


Did you know?

The large number of surviving prints of this subject suggests it was one of the most repeated Italian chiaroscuro woodcut designs.


As the innovator of the chiaroscuro process in Italy, Ugo's greatest achievement was the use of three- and four-tone blocks to simulate the subtleties of Raphael's ink wash drawings. Using woodcut, he duplicated the powerful contours, simplified forms, and spontaneous appearance of the Italian master's graphics.

Here, the print shows a sitting Sybil who is reading a book to a child holding a torch to illuminate the room. The design for Sibyl Reading has been traditionally ascribed to Raphael based on the several sibylline figures (one of whom is accompanied by a putto holding a torch) in the master's decorations for the Capella Chigi, Santa Maria della Pace, Rome (1511–14), though there is no direct correspondence.

See also
PR - Chiaroscuro
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Delia E. Holden Fund

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