E.18 Fury

E.18a Caraglio, Fury

Engraving by Gian Jacopo Caraglio, 24.9 x 18.2 L + margin below 7.5 L to P (London, H.7-32); a small passage of a branch and its dark background in the upper right corner is not entirely engraved.

Fig.E.18a (London, 1873,0510.220)
(London, H7-32; with poem)

Impressions of this print in Berlin (216-18) and in London (H.7-32) carry below the image the following poem in two columns printed from a separate plate (8.3 x 20 P, Berlin) that is slightly wider than the plate of the image:

Per aspri boschi e solitario horrore
Barbuto magro uo solingo e nudo
Di rabbia colmo e carco di dolore
Squallido inculto hirsuto horrendo e crudo
Tenebre oscure, notti, ombre e terrore
Ne gliocchi spaventosi albergo e chiudo
Tal che s’el Cigno me’rincontra a forte
Canta, chel corpo mio gli par la morte

Dherba mi pasco in quest’horrido bosco
Di fele amaro tinta et immature
Bevo di serpi il piu maligno tosco
In un teschio di morte afflitta e scura
Il seggio è un drago ame ch’io non conosco
Altro appoggio conforme a mia figura
E dormo sì tra qual che sasso o sterpe
Che, qual tronco, in me l’hedera serpe

(Through harsh forests and solitary horror / I go bearded, thin, alone, and nude / Full of anger and heavy with pain / Squalid, unkempt, hirsute, horrendous and crude. / Obscure darkness, nights, shadows and terror / In my frightening eyes I hide and enclose / Such that if the Swan encounters me loudly / He sings, since my body seems death to him. // In this horrendous forest of bitter bile / I feed on discolored and immature grass. / I drink the most harmful poison of serpents / In a skull afflicted and dark with death. / My seat is a dragon for I do not know / Any other support that conforms to my body. / And thus I sleep among stones and dry twigs / That like ivy around a tree trunk wind around me.)1

Heinecken, I, 1778, 629, and II, 1788, 100, as “The Chimera,” and as by Agostino Veneziano rather than Caraglio, and as after Bandinelli rather than Rosso.  Bartsch, XV, 1813, 92-93, 58, as Caraglio after Rosso.  Le Blanc, I, 1854, 589, 61.  Herbet, III, 1899, 48 (1969, 136).

COLLECTIONS: Berlin, 216-18, with poem; 217-18, two small pieces missing, lower left.  Bologna, Inv. C. 658(263) and C. 659(264).  Boston, H.D.P.1340.  Florence, Marucelliana, Vol. VI, 19.  Hamburg, inv. no. 1/1551a.  London, H7-32, with poem; 1873,0510.220, without poem.  Los Angeles (Ruiz).  New York, 49.97.251 (cut on all sides).  Paris, Eb7+ (lower left corner missing, squared in black chalk).  Vienna, It.I.25, p.48.


Heinecken (see above) attributed the print to Agostino Veneziano after a drawing by Bandinelli.  One would assume that this attribution was based on an analogy with Agostino’s Disputation of the Angel of Death and the Devil [E.109], which had also been thought to be derived from a design by Baccio.

Bartsch (see above) rightly identified the print with Vasari’s description in his account of the career of Caraglio, and this identification has been accepted by all subsequent writers.

Antal, 1928-1929 (1966, 55).

Kusenberg, 1931, 27, 163, Pl. XX, 1.

Becherucci, 1944 (1949, 30).

Barocchi, 1950, 65-66, 145, 154, Fig. 45.

Petrucci, 1964, 44.

Carroll, 1964 (1976), I, Bk. I, 111-114, Bk. II, 79-80, II, Bk. III, Fig. 33, as done in 1524 or early 1525.

Only Zerner, “Caraglio,” 1972, 692 and n. 9, and Campbell in RISD, 1973, 79-80, no. 86 and Fig., mentioned the London impression with the poem; Campbell dated the print 1525-1526.

Ferrara and Gaeta Bertelà, 1975, no. 167, with Fig. and no. 167a (Bologna).

Borroni and Kozakiewicz, 1976, 616.

Borea, 1979, 365, and Fig. 239 (Florence, Marucelliana) as c. 1526.

Borea, 1980, 248, no. 68, and Fig. (Florence, Marucelliana), as done c. 1524.

Darragon, 1983, 43, Fig. 21 (London), as after Rosso, 1524-1525; he comments on its relation to the Laocoön.

Boorsch and Spike, IB, 28, 1985, 197 (London, 1873,0510.220).

Carroll, 1987, 11, 24, 39, 40, 72-74, no. 8, with Fig. (London), as 1524, after the failure of the Cesi Chapel commission.

K. Orchard, in Zauber der Medusa, 1987, 210-211, no. IV, 27, and Fig. (Hamburg) as c. 1524-1525, as possibly an allusion to the metamorphosis of Cyenus into a swan upon the death of Phaeton.

Davis, 1988, 12, 70-71, no. 17, Fig. (Los Angeles), 167, 155, as an allegory of death, and as comparable to Michelangelo’s so-called “Damned Soul” drawing.

Franklin, 1988, 326, no. 8 , believes the figure’s missing penis is due to the fact that he is a partial écorché.

Hirst, 1988, 109, mentioned the influence of Michelangelo’s Fury drawing in the Uffizi made for Perini.

Karpinski, 1988, 172, 173, as resembling a niello and possibly derived from the Florentine niello tradition.

Leone de Castris, 1988, 40, as giving evidence of Rosso’s reevaluation of Michelangelo in Rome.

Kornell, 1989, 845, Fig. 56 (London), 846, commented on Vasari’s use of the phrase “notomia secca” for this figure, relating it thus to the study of anatomy.

Carroll, 1989, 9, 10, Fig. 3 (London, H7-32).

Boorsch, 1989, as Frenzy or Fury.

Gilbert, 1992, 220-221, Fig. 6 (London), as derived from Michelangelo’s Furia in the Uffizi, which was provided for Rosso’s use.

Franklin, 1994, 46, 134-135, 137, 283, n. 47, Pl. 106 (London), believed rather forced Gilbert’s attempt to credit Michelangelo with the design of the print.

Brugerolles and Guillet, 1994, 40, under no. 15.

Mugnaini, in Rosso e Volterra, 1994, 151, no. 4, with Fig. (Florence, Marucelliana), believed that even if one senses that the background of nordic demons is accentuated by Caraglio, a strong suggestion of Dürer is evident; described as Fury or Insanity, the image, which refers to the Laocoön, may rather be a complex allegory of death and, according to Davis, 1998, 71, a disfiguring parody of Apollonian beauty.

Mugnaini, 1994, 121-124, with the genitals in the center of the composition as a continuation of and opposition to Rosso’s Moses, the figure in the print lacking sex, hence lacking life and salvation, as opposed to the generating virtù of life in the Moses, with reference to Giovan Francesco Pico’s Strix, sive de Ludificatione Daemonum of 1523, where a demon is put in relation to a goose, and where the devil appears in three forms, as bird, serpent, and dragon.

This print of a “figura di notomia secca” is the first engraving mentioned in the list of Caraglio’s works made from Rosso’s designs recorded in Vasari’s account of this engraver.  It is also the first of Caraglio’s engravings mentioned by Vasari.  Zerner has remarked that this engraving is perhaps the earliest known print by Caraglio, in a style near to that of Agostino Veneziano’s Disputation of the Angel of Death and the Devil after Rosso (Fig.E.109).  It may be supposed that it has this place in Vasari’s account of Caraglio’s career because Baviera, the German publisher who instigated with this print the collaboration between Rosso and Caraglio in Rome, wanted such an image to follow upon the success of the engraved Disputation, which may by this time have already been engraved a second time by Marco Dente (Fig.E.51).  These circumstances make it very likely that the print was designed and engraved in 1524, not long after Rosso arrived in Rome.  It could be contemporary with the Cesi Chapel frescoes (Fig.P.17a), although their styles, as well as their subjects and contexts, are so very different.  It is also possible that Rosso’s association with Baviera and Caraglio began only after the failure of the Cesi Chapel commission, for which he was last paid in October 1524. But this is not certain and the making of disegni di stampe could have begun very soon upon Rosso arrival in Rome even before the frescoes in S. Maria della Pace were begun in April of 1524.

The title of the print, Fury (La Fureur), may go back no further than Bartsch’s suggestion.  It is not given by Vasari, nor does it appear in the poem that became attached to the print.  Heinecken called it “La Chimere,” but added “c’est un homme furieux.”  The engraving was almost certainly not made to illustrate the poem attached to it; the latter appears derived from the engraving.  The verses are little more than descriptive and so do not explain the imagery of the print. Vasari refers to the bird in the print as a “singing swan,” but it would seem that he made this identification from the attached poem, as it is not clear in the image that the bird is only a swan or that it is singing rather than screaming. Bartsch called it a goose.

As the background is an integral part of the image, and as we know from the drawings by Rosso for four of Caraglio’s engravings of the Gods in Niches (Fig.D.17A; Fig.E.32) how closely the engraver followed Rosso’s disegni di stampe, it is most likely that this background is precisely what Rosso wanted.

As indicated above, Heinecken’s designation of the engraver as Agostino Veneziano and the designer as Bandinelli must be because of the print’s resemblance to Agostino’s Disputation of the Angel of Death and the Devil after Rosso (Fig.E.51).

COPY, DRAWING: New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 80.3.301b.  Black chalk, 33.3 x 23.2 (Fig.E.18 Copy, Met); inscribed in ink at the lower right: Gio Bologna.  The drawing was brought to my attention by Elizabeth MacDougall, who reported Philip Pouncey’s attribution of it to Battista Naldini.


1 I thank Professor Joan H. Levin for this translation.