(b. ca. 1497, Caravaggio, d. 1543, Messina)

Design for a Vase

Engraving, 240 x 160 mm
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

Just before the Sack of Rome in 1527, Polidoro da Caravaggio, who was one of the most accomplished of Raphael's pupils, decorated the façade of the Palazzo Milesi in the city with a series of monochrome frescoes, depicting classical scenes, trophies and vases. The wit and invention, particularly of the designs of the vases, meant that these motifs became widely admired, and their fame spread as a number of series of prints reproduced them. The first of these were created by Cherubino Alberti in 1582. This engraving comes, however, from a set published in Prague by Aegidius Sadeler (c. 1570-c. 1609) in 1605, which reverse the Alberti prints. The perspective of the vase is distorted, so it is seen as though in situ, and looked up at from street level.