Jan 13, 2009

Skeletons, also known as Allegory of Death and Fame

Skeletons, also known as Allegory of Death and Fame


Agostino Veneziano

(Italian, 1490–1540)

a design by

after Rosso Fiorentino

(Italian, 1494–1540)


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



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
PR - Engraving
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.