Skeletons, also known as Allegory of Death and Fame

Skeletons, also known as Allegory of Death and Fame

1518

Agostino Musi

(Italian, 1490-1540)

after Rosso Fiorentino

(Italian, 1494-1540)

a design by

Engraving

Support: Cream(1) laid paper, perimeter mounted to cream(3) laid paper (Chatsworth mount)

Sheet: 30.9 x 50.8 cm (12 3/16 x 20 in.); Secondary Support: 41.2 x 61.2 cm (16 1/4 x 24 1/8 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1993.8

Catalogue raisonné: Bartsch 424 ( XIV.320) ; Passavant VI. 60.93

Description

Although for centuries scholars have attempted to understand the allegorical meaning of this print, 16th-century artist and author Giorgio Vasari described it simply as “an anatomy of desiccated nudes and of bones of the dead.” A central figure of winged Death stands over an interred skeleton, surrounded by a variety of skeletal and living human figures who appear to debate the fate of the soul. At far left is a “marasmic” man, a type of sun-dried body used by anatomists to study the muscles without removing the skin. Rosso Fiorentino, who designed the composition of this print to be engraved by Agostino Veneziano, was a Florentine contemporary of Michelangelo who planned a book on anatomy that was never published.

See also
Collection: 
PR - Engraving
Department: 
Prints
Type of artwork: 
Print
Medium: 
Engraving

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