E.25 Challenge of the Pierides

E.25b Caraglio, Challenge of the Pierides, II

Engraving by Gian Jacopo Caraglio, 24.5 x 39 L, including margin at bottom of 0.4 (Paris, Eb 6b Rés.)

Four states:

I.  Only the figures engraved, although not all of them, and some that are, not entirely, and part of the landscape at the upper right.  The head second to the left of Apollo and the nude Muse just left of center do not appear in this state.  The Pieride at the far right is only outlined.  The only impression known of this state has the lower margin cut off (see Chatsworth, below).

II.  Inscribed in the margin below: AVSAE CVM MVSIS COMMITTERE PROELIA VOCE VICTAE NUNC VOLITANT IMMITANTES OMNIA PICAE (After daring to contest the Muses with their singing they now fly as magpies, imitating the sounds of all and sundry.)

The second head to the left of Apollo and the head of the Pieride at the far right may not be entirely finished, although their particular whiteness may be an aspect of Rosso’s special use of light.

III.  A second line appears at the left and right just inside the outline and overlapping details of the image.

IV.  Also inscribed at the lower right of the image: Ant.Sal.exc.

For the state of the plate re-worked by Enea Vico, see below.

Fig.E.25a (State I, Chatsworth)
Fig.E.25b (State II, Paris, Eb 6b Rés)
Fig.E.25c (State II, London, 1874-8-8-219)

Heinecken, I, 1778, 624-625, as Agostino Veneziano, after Rosso, according to Vasari, but in France, where the picture is, after Perino del Vaga.  Bartsch, XV, 1813, 89, 53.  Le Blanc, 1854-1890, I, 589, 58. Herbet, III, 1899, 48 (1969, 136).

COLLECTIONS: Berlin, 180-18 (II or III; worn plate), 182-18 (II or III; worn plate, badly damaged).  Braunschweig (IV).  Brussels, Bibliothèque Albert Ier (see Poirier, 1964, 63-64, 78, Pl. XXXVII, the left half of the print reproduced as by Enea Vico).  Chatsworth, Vol. III, p.41, no. 74 (I. This only known impression of the unfinished state I is elaborated by a landscape added in red-orange chalk; a large piece is missing at the center right edge with the missing part of the engraved image added in brown ink.  The red chalk drawing, which is not by Rosso, extends at the bottom onto the sheet on which the print is laid down.  This impression is probably the incomplete one mentioned by Mariette [Abécédario, 1858-1859, 20] as owned by Zanetti in Venice, the added drawing thought by Mariette to be by Rosso himself.  But as the red chalk drawing extends onto the backing sheet, Rosso’s authorship seems unlikely, as is also the suggestion of Michael Bury [“On Some Engravings by Giorgio Ghisi Commonly called ‘Reproductive,’” Print Quarterly, X, 1, 1998, 8-9] that the added drawing is by Caraglio.  The red chalk drawing was probably added after the damaged sheet was repaired, perhaps in the eighteenth century.  A finished impression was used as a model, but the birds were not copied.  I should like to thank Anthony V. Griffiths for bringing this impression to my attention.).  Florence, 1156ss (II or III; damaged, soiled).  London, 1874-8-8-219 (II; lower margin cut off); V.8-119 (poor condition).  Paris, Ba 12c, p.16, no. 12 (II or III; inscribed in ink at the lower left: Perin del Vaga inv. pin…?); Eb 6b Rés. (II).  Rome, Fondo Corsini, Vol. 26 M 30, no. 05883 (II or III).  Vienna, H.B.IV, p.50, no. 71 (III).


Mariette, Abécédario, 1858-1859, 20, as Caraglio after Rosso.

Goldschmidt, 1911, 22, mentions the print as Caraglio’s and states that Rosso’s original work is the painting in the Louvre.

Kusenberg, 1931, 157, 163, as Caraglio after Rosso; he mentions the Louvre painting as Rosso’s, done in Rome.

Barocchi, 1950, 90-91, Fig. 62, as Caraglio after Rosso, and the picture in the Louvre as not Rosso’s.

Petrucci, 1964, 44-45.

Cox-Rearick, 1972, 38, under no. 45, as Caraglio’s after Rosso’s painting of 1524-1527 in the Louvre.

Zerner, in EdF, 1972, 249, no. 285, 250, Fig. (Paris, Eb 6b Rés) as a work engraved in Rosso’s Italian period, its schematic character giving doubts to Vasari’s attribution of it to Caraglio.

Béguin, in EdF, 1972, 177, under no. 199, as by Caraglio after Rosso’s picture in the Louvre.

Zerner, “Caraglio,” 1972, 692, as by Caraglio (a remark dating from 1969 when Zerner gave the lecture published here).

Mirimonde, 1973, 144, 142, mentions Zerner’s questioning of the attribution to Caraglio.

Zerner, in Fontainebleau, 1973, I, 39, Fig. 3, II, 79, no. 285.

Barroni and Kozakiewicz, 1976, 616.

Borea, 1980, 248, no. 617.

Lévêque, 1984, 124, Fig. (Paris, Eb 6b Réserve), as Caraglio after Rosso.

Boorsch and Spike, IB, 28, 1985, 192 (London, 1874-8-8-219).

Carroll, 1987, 24, 40, 92-94, no. 17, with Fig. (Paris, Eb 6b Rés.).

Carroll, 1989, 91, 14, Fig. 26 (Paris, Eb 6b Rés.).

Massari, 1989, 119, 141, 144, no. 56a, Figs. a and c detail [mistake for a] (Rome), as done c. 1526 in Rome, with bibliography.

Costamagna, 1991, 53, Fig. 5 (Paris), the female figures showing that Rosso had taken to Rome copies of Michelangelo’s “teste divine” drawings.

Franklin, 1994, 134-135, 150, 160, 283, n. 56, Pl. 98 (London), noted the evidence provided by Bury that the background was added by Caraglio (see above under COLLECTIONS).

In his account of the career of Caraglio, Vasari lists the Challenge of the Pierides as that engraver’s third work and the third work he engraved after Rosso’s designs following upon the latter’s arrival in Rome.  There is no mention of any painting by Rosso.  The painting in the Louvre, on which see RP.19, is derived from the print, and quite possibly from an impression made from Enea Vico’s re-working of the plate (see below).  A disegno di stampa made by Rosso specifically for the engraver was certainly the model for the print.  The print should be judged from an excellent impression of it, such as the example in Vienna.  Much of the light and dark values of the landscape are engraved quite like the similar passages in the Labors of Hercules (on which Zerner writes in “Caraglio,” 1972, 692, Pl. 219, 2-3).  One must also note that while the print is very large, it contains many figures that are quite small, making this print unlike the others that Caraglio made from Rosso’s designs, excepting the Battle of the Romans and the Sabines, which the engraver never finished (Fig.E.48, Paris).  But impressions made from the unfinished plate show in the figures that are completed a technique identical to that of the figures in the Challenge of the Pierides.  It cannot be reasonably doubted that the print is by Caraglio and that it was made after a drawing by Rosso that was executed in Rome.  Caraglio would have followed it carefully, including its landscape, producing a print in the opposite direction.  Evidence for what Caraglio had to reproduce in the way of landscape may probably be had from Perino del Vaga’s disegno di stampa in the British Museum (5226-96) of Vertumnus and Pomona for the series of the Loves of the Gods (see E.46-47).  The original drawing by Perino was followed very closely and augmented only in detail where the technique of engraving required greater specification.

The composition of the Pierides print is most similar to that of Rosso’s St. Roch Distributing His Inheritance to the Poor, in the Louvre (Fig.D.13), done most probably in the middle of 1524.  In both, the figures are arranged in groups placed in the immediate foreground and then slightly farther back, but so placed that the groups do not really overlap.  To the right of Apollo is a male figure bending over with his arms crossed over his chest that is almost identical to a figure in reverse in the upper left corner of the Louvre drawing.  The woman at the far right of the print is very much like the woman at the far left, in reverse, in the copy of Rosso’s St. Roch Visiting the Plague-Stricken in the Louvre (Fig.D.14B).  It is probable that the print was designed and executed in the second half of 1524, after the Labors of Hercules, but before Rosso executed the grand Dead Christ in Boston of 1525 or 1526 (Fig.P.18a), and before he designed the Gods in Niches, engraved by Caraglio in 1526, with their broad, bold, and witty compositions (Fig.E.26 and others of this series).



Enea Vico (Fig.E.110).  Inscribed in the margin below as in Caraglio’s original print but with the words spaced differently, formed of smaller letters, without the marks at the beginning, middle, and end, and without the two small circles at both ends of the margin.  Inscribed within the picture area itself, at the lower left: AENEAS VICO PARM . RESTITVIT . MDLIII . .  Later impressions also inscribed at the lower right: Ant.Lafrerv.  The Salamanca address has been erased.

Fig.E.110 (Bartsch)

Heinecken, I, 1778, 625.  Bartsch, XV, 1813, 295-296, 28, also mentioned under Caraglio’s print.  Le Blanc, 1854-1890, I, 589, 58, under Caraglio, and IV, 118, 28, under Vico.

COLLECTIONS: Bologna, Inv. V. 76 (1269).  Brussels, Bibliothèque Albert Ier (see Poirier, 1964, 63, 65, 78, Pl. XXXVII [detail]).  Chatsworth, Vol. III, no. 75.  Florence, Marucelliana, Vol. X, no. 48.  London, 1874,0808.280.  Oxford.  Paris, Ba 12c, p.17, no. 14 (possibly the Paris impression with Lafréry address and inscribed at the lower right: Perin del Vaga Inv. Pinx. illustrated in Mirimonde, 1973, 142, Fig. 2).  Rome, Fondo Nazionale, F. Pio Vol. IX, no. 1181 (34895), Fondo Corsini, Vol. 34 H 16, no. 31030 and 31031 (with Lafréry address).  Vienna, H.B.IV, p.95, no. 103 (Lafréry).


Kusenberg, 1931, 157, 167.

Mirimonde, 1973, 142.

Ferrara and Gaeta Bertelà, 1975, no. 502, with Fig. (Bologna), as by Enea Vico.

Borroni and Kozakiewicz, 1976, 616.

Borea, 1980, 248, under no. 617.

Spike, IB, 30, 1985, 41 (London).

Carroll, 1987, 94, n. 1, under no. 17.

Massari, 1989, 141, 143-144, no. 56 b, c, and d, Figs. c and a detail [wrong for c] (Rome), as done on another plate.

As the inscription indicates and Bartsch stated, the major lines of the composition have been maintained and details have been re-worked to restore the plate.  Impressions from this plate appear very “bleached” and the condition of the worn plate is very much in evidence.  Many of the faces, especially the female ones, have been re-cut.  The Muse to the left of center has quite a grotesque face.  Massari thought that the scene was engraved by Vico on a new plate but the old, very worn plate seems too much in evidence to conclude that this was the case.  Bartsch thought this engraving one of Vico’s best, an appreciation that is difficult to accept.  It is possible that the painting wrongly attributed to Rosso in the Louvre was derived from this print, on which see RP.19.


PARTIAL COPY: E.111.  Enea Vico, The Nine Daughters of Pierus.  Engraving, 13.2 x 18.9 (Kusenberg).  Inscribed on a small band at the lower left:   ­­_.V. (Bartsch).

Fig.E.111 (Dresden)

Bartsch, XV, 1813, 296, 29.  Le Blanc, 1854-1890, IV, 118, 29.



Kusenberg, 1931, 157, 167.

Spike, IB, 30, 1985, 42 (Dresden, 13 x 18.9).

This print shows the nine figures at the lower right of Caraglio’s engraving, but in reverse.  Although this engraving shows the Pierides, it may be the print listed in the 1572 inventory of the prints in the shop of Antonio Lafréry in Rome as “le nove Muse di Enea Vico” (Ehre, 1908, 56, line 319), unless this reference lists a now lost engraving by Vico, perhaps of the nine nude Muses of Caraglio’s print.


COPY: E.53.  Du Cerceau.  Etching, 24.8 x 38.9.  Inscribed at the bottom as in the original print (Linzeler).  Not seen.

COLLECTION: Paris, Ed. 2 (Linzeler).


Geymüller, 1887, 324, as 23.5 x 38.3, as copied from Caraglio’s print after Perino del Vaga.

Kusenberg, 1931, 164, as in Geymüller.

Linzeler, 1932, 34, as in Geymüller.

Borea, 1980, 248, under no. 617.

The inscription on the print indicates that it was derived from Caraglio’s engraving.


COPIES, DRAWINGS: Florence, Uffizi, no. 92167F.  Pen and wash, 14.9 by 22.2 (max.).  This copy is attributed to Cherubino Alberti in the Uffizi.

Paris, Louvre, Inv. 1595.  Copies of groups of figures in Caraglio’s print, the lower groups juxtaposed somewhat differently to those above (Fig.Paris, 1595).  Pen and ink, 20.4 x 25.9.  PROVENANCE: Cabinet du Roi.  Robert de Cotte (Lugt 1963); Antoine Coypel (Lugt 478).  LITERATURE: Morel d’Arleux Inventory, 1797-1827, no. 3921, as after Perino del Vaga.  Kusenberg, 1931, 145, no. 73, Pl. XXII, as Rosso, for his composition.  Mez, 1932, 157, as a copy of Rosso’s composition.  Kusenberg, 1933, 164, n. 1, as a copy.  Berenson, 1938, II, no. 2455A, III, Fig. 1007, under Rosso, but possibly after rather than for his painting.  Barocchi, 1950, 224, Fig. 216, as a copy after Caraglio’s print.  Parker, 1956, 324, under no. 595, as uncertain whether for or after Rosso’s picture in the Louvre, and as resembling a drawing of Four nude female figures in the Ashmolean.  Berenson, 1961, no. 2455A, as in 1938.  Carroll, 1964 (1976), II, Bk. II, 511-512, F.51, Bk. III, Fig. 205, as a copy of Rosso’s composition and as more likely made from Caraglio’s print rather than from the Louvre painting.  It is noted that the draughtsmanship suggests Veronese’s.  Michèle Beaulieu, in EdF, 1972, 376-377, under no. 505, mentioned the drawing as a possible source, instead of Caraglio’s print, along with the Gods in Niches, for some of the figures in a Last Judgment relief and its flanking figures in the Musée archéologique, Dijon (H. David, De Sluter à Sambin, Paris, 1933, II, 368-370, 378, Fig. 112).  [I do not see these connections.]  Béguin, in EdF, 1972, 177, under no. 199, as copied from the painting in the Louvre.  Béguin, Louvre, 1982, 36-37, no. 27, Fig., 70, nos. 59, 60, as copy of Caraglio’s print.  Massari, 1989, 141.

I now think it looks rather like a drawing by Perino del Vaga or Pellegrino Tibaldi, and still as after the Caraglio print.


COPIES, PAINTINGS: Paris, Louvre, no. 1486.  See RP.19.

For drawings and prints derived from this painting, see under RP.19.

Paris, Louvre.  School of Fontainebleau, Toilet of Venus.  97 x 126.  LITERATURE: C. Sterling and H. Adhémar, Musée Nationale du Louvre, Peintures, École française, XIV, XV, et XVI siècles, Paris, 223-224, no. 102.  Béguin, 1989, 829, Fig., 830, 838.  The figure at the left is derived from the Pierides print.


COPIES, ENAMEL: Paris, Louvre, Département des Objets d’Art, Inv. 570, Cup.  LITERATURE: Béguin, Louvre, 1982, 70, n. 60, mentions this cup as decorated with groups of figures from the Challenge of the Pierides.  Béguin may imply that these groups are related to those in the pen and ink copy in the Louvre (see above).


COPIES, FULL COMPOSITION, MAJOLICA: Formerly Berlin, Shlossmuseum, Inv. 1794 (destroyed in World War II).  Orazio Fontana, Dish.  Dated 5 November 1542.  LITERATURE: Norman, 1976, 207, under C100, with bibliography.  Mallet, 1987, 290-291, Figs. 8 and 8a (inscription on verso), 294, 298, no. 34, with bibliography, as almost certainly by Orazio Fontana.

Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, No. C35-1942.  Probably Camillo Gatti, Dish.  LITERATURE: Norman, 1976, 207, under C100, with bibliography.  Mallet, 1987, 292, Fig. 9 (Color Pl. on cover), 293, 294, 298, no. 35, with bibliography, as probably by Camillo Gatti, c. 1545-1550, and as from the collection of Baron Sellières (Fortnum, 1896, 202).

London, Wallace Collection, C100.  Probably Fontana workshop, Fragment of a large cistern.  LITERATURE: Norman, 1976, 205-207, C100, with Fig. and bibliography.  Mallet, 1987, 292-293, as by Camillo Gatti.

Modena, Museo Civico.  Guido Fontana workshop, Dish.  LITERATURE: Mallet, 1987, 294, 298, no. 36, with bibliography.

Location unknown, Arthur M. Sackler Collection, Trilobate Cistern (Fig.Majolica, Sackler), Accession no. 82.3.1 (in exhibition in Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, December 1982, but not in catalogue, and at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, no. 84, in March 1986).  Fontana workshop, possibly by Orazio Fontana.  Trilobate Cistern.  This is probably the piece from the Spitzer collection (see Norman, 1976, 207, under C100, as Spitzer Collection, Catalogue, 1892, IV, No. 83, Pl. XVII).

Washington, D.C., National Museum of American Art, Platter (Fig.Majolica, Washington), Inv. 1929.8.479, Gift of John Gellatly.  LITERATURE: Carroll, 1987, 94-95, Fig., with bibliography, as from the Spitzer collection.


COPIES, INDIVIDUAL FIGURES AND GROUPS OF FIGURES, MAJOLICA:  Caraglio’s print was used as the source for the figures in a great many of the wares – too numerous to list individually – produced by and in the Urbino shop of Francesco Xanto Avelli da Rovigo (see, selected from the extensive literature that mentions and illustrates wares using this print, Rackham and Mallet, 1940/1977, 209-210; and Bonomi, Marisa, “Fonti iconografiche delle maioliche di Francesco Xanto Avelli,” Commentari, X, 1959, 192, Figs. 3-6, 13; Jestaz, Bertrand, “Les modèles de la majolique historiée: bilan d’une enquête,” GdBA, 6th series, LXXIX, 1972, 231; Petruzzellis-Scherer, Jacqueline, “Fonti iconografiche delle opere dell’Avelli al Museo Correr di Venezia,” Francesco Xanto Avelli da Rovigo, Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi, Rovigo, Accademia dei Concordi, 1980, Rovigo, 1988, 124, 125, 130, 131, Figs. 4, 6, 14, and 148, print no. 5; Collins, Patricia, “Prints and the Development of istoriato Painting on Italian Maiolica,” Print Quarterly, IV, 3, 1987, 227; and Maiolica e Incisione, 1992, 46-47, no. 8, 48-49, no. 9, 50-51, no. 10, 60-61, no. 13, and the scene loosely derived from the print, 112-113, no. 37, all illustrated).  Some other Urbino wares given to other shops also show the use of figures in this print.