Saturn and Phylira, after Rosso Fiorentino, from the Loves of the Gods
17.9 cm x 13.5 cm (7 1/16 in. x 5 5/16 in.)
Giovanni Jacopo Caraglio
(Verona or Parma, Italy, circa 1500/05 - 1565, Kraków, Poland)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Newly arrived in Rome, Caraglio was charged by a certain Baviera, the manager of Raphael’s printmaking enterprise, with engraving a series of twenty loves of the gods, mostly after drawings by Perino del Vaga, but with two by Rosso Fiorentino. One of these is the rare subject of the union between Saturn in the form of a horse and the nymph Philyra, which produced the centaur Chiron. A generation later, Vasari wrote that the series was “engraved with such skill that it has always been prized.” Wickedly erotic and extremely stylized, it is today regarded as a capital work of early Mannerism. In the early 19th-century, the great cataloguer Bartsch would add that impressions from the series “are extremely rare.” The Steinberg Collection includes six. The Saturn and Philyra is lacking entirely from the collections of the Metropolitan and British Museum, and this impression is finer than the one in Vienna’s Albertina.