Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Portrait of Pietro Aretino

Artist:
Marcantonio Raimondi (Italian, Argini (?) ca. 1480–before 1534 Bologna (?))
Artist:
After (?) Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (Italian, Pieve di Cadore ca. 1485/90?–1576 Venice)
Date:
ca. 1517–20
Medium:
Engraving; second state of two
Dimensions:
Sheet: 8 3/8 × 5 7/8 in. (21.3 × 15 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1917
Accession Number:
17.50.40
Not on view
Often regarded as the first modern pornographer, the poet and satirist Pietro Aretino (1492–1556) penned some of the most lurid and salacious verses of the sixteenth century, most famously the sixteen sonnets he wrote to accompany Giulio Romano's I modi and the erotic dialogues featuring a worldly-wise puttana (prostitute) Nanna conversing in explicit and lively detail about endless and infinitely varied sexual adventures—her own and those of innumerable others that she surreptitiously witnessed.
Marcantonio Raimondi's engraved portrait of Aretino was probably designed by the Venetian painter Sebastiano del Piombo, although the name of Giulio Romano—with whom Marcantonio collaborated on I modi—has also been proposed. It may date from the early moment of his career, when Aretino was still an unknown newcomer to Rome and he and Giulio were working for the wealthy papal banker Agostino Chigi; an alternative view is that the print was executed about 1525 as an expression of gratitude by Marcantonio to Aretino, who had negotiated the engraver's release from prison after the scandal of I modi.
Aretino's dignified mien and elegant costume impart to him the refined aspect of Renaissance courtier. That facade is belied by his conspicuous hat badge—an invocation of the satirist's transgressive, obscene pronouncement that the phallus should be venerated and displayed as proudly "as a medal in one's hat."
Inscription: Artist's monogram lettered in plate middle right: 'MAF'; lettered in plate below portait: 'PETRVS ARRETINVS ACERRIMVS VIRTVTVM AC VITORVM / DEMONSTRATOR / NON MANVS ARTIFICIS MAGE DIGNVN OS PINGERE NON OS / HOC PINGI POTERAT NOBILIORI MANV / PELLAEVS IVVENIS SI VIVERET HAC VOLO DESTRA / PINGIER HOC TANTVM DICERET ORE CANI'; written in brown ink, bottom right corner: 'H62'

Marking: Collector's mark of Sir Peter Lely (Lugt 2092) on recto in black ink bottom right corner (stamped upside down)
Sir Peter Lely (Pieter van der Faes) (British, Soest 1618–1680 London)
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth. "Art and Love in Renaissance Italy," March 15, 2009–June 14, 2009.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," February 26, 2013–May 20, 2013.

Bartsch XIV.374.513; Delaborde 1887, no.234.ii; Shoemaker and Broun 150.46 (second state of two)
Adam von Bartsch Le Peintre graveur. Vienna, 1803, cat. no. 513, p. 374.

Henri Delaborde Marc Antonio Raimondi étude historique et critique, suivie d'un catalogue raisonné des ouevres du maitre. Paris, 1887, cat. no. 234.ii, p. 256.

Innis Shoemaker, Elizabeth Broun The Engravings of Marcantonio Raimondi. Lawrence, 1981, cat. no. 150.46.



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