Engraving, 354 × 227 mm platemark, 530 × 385 mm sheet.
This print reproduces in the same direction and nearly same size a drawing by the Florentine sculptor, painter, and draughtsman, Baccio Bandinelli, which is now in the Cabinet des Dessins, Musée du Louvre, in Paris (Inv. No. 190, 384 × 220 mm sheet). The large print is known in few impressions and may not have been ‘published’.
Florence 1488 – 1560 Florence
Hercules with the head of the Nemean lion, holding his club in his right hand in a lowered position and holding aloft the head of the lion in his left hand.
[Florence? publisher unknown] 1548
engraving (354 × 227 mm platemark, 530 × 385 mm sheet), by an anonymous Italian printmaker, the matrice lettered Bacivs Bandinelli Florentinvs In ventor | 1548.
paper Indistinct watermark (a bow?).
provenance Reiss & Sohn, Auktion 83, Königstein im Taunus, 26 April 2002, lot 3352
Insignificant printer’s crease, light staining along sheet edges, a fine and superbly preserved impression on a virtually untrimmed sheet.
Hinged on a museum mount.
This print reproduces in the same direction and nearly same size a drawing by the Florentine sculptor, painter, and draughtsman, Baccio Bandinelli, which is now in the Cabinet des Dessins, Musée du Louvre, in Paris (Inv. No. 190, 384 × 220 mm sheet; link).1 Another drawing in the Louvre, ‘Hercules with the apples of the Hesperides’ (Inv. No. 189) and one of ‘Hercules standing, with a club’ (private collection) are technically related, and the three sheets may be from a series depicting all the Labours of Hercules.2
Bandinelli was obsessed by Hercules and conceived many projects for monumental statues of the demigod carved in marble, of which only a few were executed, and a few more modelled in stucco or cast in bronze. The drawing reproduced by our print is described by Ward as a highly finished modello executed between 1535 and 1540.3 The prominent inscription on the print proclaiming Bandinelli’s authorship suggests that the artist, a tireless self-promoter, who carefully monitored the printed reproduction of his drawings, played some role in its creation. The absence of a printmaker’s or a publisher’s name suggests that the engraver was more probably a studio assistant or protégé of Bandinelli, than one of the commercial printmakers, such as Nicolas Beatrizet, Nicolò della Casa, and Enea Vico, who customarily engraved his designs.4
Eight other impressions are known to us
● Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow (link) ● Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (link) ● Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna5 ● Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris6 ● Los Angeles County Museum of Art7 ● Berlin art market8 ● German art market, with Antiquariat Konrad Meuschel9 ● German art market (a mutilated impression).10
1. Reproduced in The Dictionary of Art, 3 (New York & London 1996), p.157.
2. Roger Ward, Baccio Bandinelli 1493–1560. Drawings from British Collections, catalogue of an exhibition, Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge 1988), no. 42.
3. Roger Ward, ‘Baccio Bandinelli as a draughtsman’, unpublished PhD thesis, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, 1982, no. 362.
4. For other prints reproducing drawings and sculpture by Baccio Bandinelli, see Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon (Leipzig 1872–1885), ii, pp.671–677.
5. Detlef Heikamp, ‘In margine alla “Vita di Baccio Bandinelli” del Vasari’ in Paragone 17 (January 1966), pp.55, 62 (note 6).
6. Evelina Borea, ‘Stampe da modelli fiorentini nel cinquecento’ in Firenze e la Toscana dei Medici nell’Europa del Cinquecento. Il primato del disegno (Florence 1980), p.264.
7. Gift of Mary Stansbury Ruiz, 1988; see Mannerist Prints: International Style in the Sixteenth Century, catalogue by Bruce Davis (Los Angeles 1988), fig. 20b. The impression was offered by William H. Schab Gallery, From Michelangelo to Rosso (New York 1986), item 19 (reproduced; watermark: star with a circle and lozenge – Briquet 6097).
8. Galerie Gerda Bassenge, Auktion 79, Berlin, 31 May 2002, lot 5009 (reproduced).
9. Antiquariat Konrad Meuschel, ‘Katalog 85: Italienische Kupferstiche, Radierungen und Einblattdrucke des xvi. Jahrhunderts’ (Bad Honnef an Rhein circa 1997), item 7 (reproduced; watermark: anchor in a circle).
10. Reiss & Sohn, Auktion 94, Königstein im Taunus, 24 April 2004, lot 5454.