Dec 22, 2008

The Three Fates, Costume Designs

The Three Fates, Costume Designs

c. 1534

Pierre Milan


after Rosso Fiorentino

(Italian, 1494–1540)


Support: Cream(3) laid paper

Sheet: 25.5 x 42.6 cm (10 1/16 x 16 3/4 in.)

Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 1984.71

Catalogue raisonné: Robert-Dumesnil 90 (as Rene Boyvin, VII.53)



This engraving reproduces a trio of costume designs by Rosso Fiorentino. They were likely meant for a masquerade ball held at the court of King Francis I. Each figure represents one of the Three Fates, the female deities in Greek and Roman religion who controlled human destiny, often symbolized by cloth or thread—to indicate the spinning of human life. Here we see them holding (from left to right) wool, thread, and flax. Pierre Milan made a number of prints after the designs of Rosso Fiorentino. However, unlike the etchers working at the chateau of Fontainebleau, Milan worked as a professional engraver in Paris. His works have a cleaner, more polished look to them than the more experimental prints made at the chateau itself. Milan and his contemporaries in Paris formed an important group of printmakers who helped spread the Fontainebleau style. As professional printmakers with ties to the publishing industry, their works were printed in large numbers, unlike the rarer Fontainebleau etchings.

See also
PR - Engraving
Type of artwork: 

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