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Sibyl with a Child Holding a Torch

Ugo da Carpi

Artwork Details

Sibyl with a Child Holding a Torch
Ugo da Carpi
chiaroscuro woodcut on beige laid paper
18 13/16 x 16 3/16 in. (47.78 x 41.12 cm);11 x 9 in. (27.94 x 22.86 cm);18 13/16 x 16 3/16 in. (47.78 x 41.12 cm)
Gift of Ruth W. and Clarence J. Boldt, Jr.
2008/2.420

On Display

Not currently on display

Description

Ugo da Carpi
Italy, circa 1480–1532
A Sibyl with a Child Holding
a Torch
1518
Chiaroscuro woodcut printed with line block and one tone block on laid paper
Gift of Ruth W. and Clarence J. Boldt, Jr., 2008/2.420
This tranquil scene of a sibyl, an ancient prophetess, reading by torchlight is the first attempt by Ugo da Carpi to reproduce a drawing by Raphael in an innovative medium known as the chiaroscuro woodcut. Developed in Germany a decade before, chiaroscuro woodcuts were the earliest images printed in color, produced entirely from carved wooden blocks printed sequentially upon a single sheet of paper. The muted tonalities of chiaroscuro woodcuts sought to capture the modulated effects of light and shadow, known by the Italian term “chiaroscuro” (literally “light/dark”).
(6/28/10)

Subject Matter:

This tranquil scene shows a sibyl, an ancient prophetess, reading by torchlight. The print is the first attempt by the artist Ugo da Carpi at reproducing a drawing by Raphael in an innovative medium known as chiaroscuro woodcut. Developed in Germany in the first decade of the sixteenth century, chiaroscuro woodcuts were the earliest images printed in color, produced entirely from carved wooden blocks printed sequentially upon a single sheet of paper. The muted tonalities of chiaroscuro woodcuts sought to capture the modulated effects of light and shadow, known by the Italian term "chiaroscuro" (literally "light/dark"), qualities that were prized in contemporary pen, ink, and wash drawings. In his "Lives of the Artists," first published in 1550, Giorgio Vasari wrote that Raphael produced a drawing "in chiaroscuro" to serve as a model for this print. The combination of a bright torch in a dark room was an ideal subject for this initial collaborative foray by the Renaissance master and Ugo da Carpi into the medium of chiaroscuro woodcut.

Physical Description:

A woman sits in an interior holding a book in her right arm, which is propped upon a ledge. She reads by the light of a torch held by a child standing next to her. Print trimmed to image frame. Image was previously folded at center (multiple folds). Paper size: lh 27 3/5cm & rh 27 4/5cm x tw 22 3/5cm bw 22 3/10cm.

Usage Rights:

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