"The Betrothal of the Virgin" Original Engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi, 1506

Marcantonio Raimondi (Italy, 16th Century and earlier)

"The Betrothal of the Virgin" Original Engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi, 1506


An original copper plate engraving by Italian artist Marcantonio Raimondi (1480-before 1534) titled "The Bethrothal of the Virgin", 1506. Size: 11.5" x 8.5". This work is after Albrecht Durer's (Nuremberg, 1471-1528) original "The Betrothal of the Virgin. Plate 6 from The Life of the Virgin. Bartsch (XIV) 626. With Durer's monogram in the plate, lower center: "AD"; numbered in the plate lower center: "6". A fine impression in fine condition, aside for adhesive remnants verso. Raimondi's direct copies in engraving of The Life of the Virgin woodcuts by Dürer led the latter make a complaint to the Venetian Government in 1511. Raimondi's copies included Dürer's famous AD monogram. Dürer won some legal protection for his monogram, but not his compositions - an important case in the history of intellectual property law.

Marcantonio was the object of one of the earliest suits by an artist against those appropriating his work as their own. As Vasari tells it in his Lives of the Artists, Marcantonio discovered a set of Albrecht Dürer's Small Woodcut Passion in Venice, spent all of his money to purchase it, and proceeded, much to Vasari's disgust, to make engraved copies of each the pieces including Dürer's monogram. (Vasari makes it clear that he thinks everyone ought to be imitating Italians, not vice versa.) Dürer made a trip to Venice and complained to the Senate that Marcantonio was stealing his work and misrepresenting it (since Dürer had made woodcuts, not engravings). The Senate decided that since the images belonged to all of Christianity, Dürer could not claim ownership, but that his name belonged to him, and so it ordered Marcantonio not to use Dürer's monogram in his own works. Vasari seems to have gotten some of the detail s wrong—it was Dürer's Life of the Virgin that Marcantonio was publishing with Dürer's monogram, not his Small Woodcut Passion, which is never found in Marcantonio's engravings with the monogram—but the mistake is understandable, since Marcantonio did subsequently make engraved copies of the Small Woodcut Passion as well.

After leaving Venice, Marcantonio went first to Florence, then on to Rome, which became his home and where he found success working with Raphael as the head of a workshop of engravers (including Marco Dente da Ravenna and Agostino dei Musi (called Agostine Veneziano) whose copies made Raphael's work known through Europe. The two artists became friends and Raimondi's first work for Raphael was The Death of Lucretia. This and later plates show the darks becoming less dramatic and the burin work more "open." Raphael left much to Raimondi, never giving him a finished picture but a pencil or pen outline-drawing, knowing that the proper treatment and elaboration would come from his engraver; consequently there is often a marked discrepancy between an oil by Raphael and Raimondi's engraving of it. Marcantonio's triumphs as an engraver in Rome gave him an international reputation. Durer wrote for proofs from his hand, and German engravers flocked to Rome to study under him.After Raphael's death from the plague in 1520, Marcantonio continued to work with the surviving members of Raphael's studio until the Sack of Rome in 1527, during which, according to Vasari, Marcantonio was taken prisoner and forced to sell everything he owned to ransom himself. Although his actual date of death, like his birthdate, is unknown, none of his works can be dated after 1527, and it is presumed that his death probably occurred soon after he was released from captivity.


Origin Italy
Category Engravings
Style Renaissance

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