1531 Bologna – Rome 1574

The Wreath – Flora with her Nymphs

engraving; 316 x 435 mm (12 1/2 x 17 1/8 inches)

Bartsch 111; Massari 66 a (of b); TIB, vol. 28, Commentary, pp. 317f., no. 111 first state (of two)

WATERMARK two crossed arrows with a star (Massari 77; similar to Briquet 6299, dated to 1554)

A truly superb, early impression before the address of Antonio Lafreri; still showing plenty of horizontal polishing marks; a strip of paper from an old album mounting on the verso along the lower margin and trimmed by ½ inch along the top; otherwise in fine, untreated condition with thread margins on three sides.

“In the fifth degree of Virgo rises the Wreath (Corona). Whoever is born when this constellation rises will be engaged in various voluptuous pleasures” – It was Ernst Gombrich who first deciphered the iconography of a painting by Giulio Romano by connecting it to antique sources. The painting in the Sala dei Venti in the Palazzo del Tè in Mantua was the model for Bonason’e print. The reclining nude in the foreground, however, does not follow the painting but is instead based on an ancient statue of Ariadne that had been on display in the Vatican’s Belvedere Court since 1512.