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The Vision of Ezekiel; a group of corpses and skeletons emerging out of tombs, above them five winged putti holding a banderole

Giorgio Ghisi (Italian, Mantua ca. 1520–1582 Mantua)
After Giovanni Battista Bertano (Mantua 1516–1576 Mantua)
Plate: 16 1/8 x 26 1/2 in. (41 x 67.3 cm) Sheet: 16 13/16 x 26 1/2 in. (42.7 x 67.3 cm)
Credit Line:
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1994
Accession Number:
Not on view
Large and dramatic, this engraving depicts the prophet Ezekiel’s vision in the Valley of the Dead when he saw vast numbers of the people brought back to life. As recorded in the Book of Ezekiel from the Old Testament, the prophet was brought to a valley filled with dry bones and commanded to prophesize over them. As he did so, ‘there was a noise, a sound of clattering; and the bones joined together. I looked, and saw that they were covered with sinews; flesh was growing on them and skin was covering them . . . .’ (Ezekiel 37:7-8). The Biblical passage is represented here with great imagination. Set in a darkened valley the bones appear to be organizing themselves, joining up to form animated skeletons, and gradually taking on flesh.
At either side of the print are sealed tombs and between them others from which skeletons emerge. The tomb at the right with female figures at each corner seems to have been inspired by the tomb designed by Giulio Romano (ca 1529) for Pietro Strozzi in the basilica of S. Andrea in Mantua. The designer of the print, Giovanni Battista Bertani, was from Mantua and a pupil of Romano. This is an early proof impression of the print before an inscription was added to the banderole held by putti in the upper section.
Inscription: Lettered in a tablet within image: 'GEORGIUS DE GHISI MANTUAN[US] .F. M.D.LIIII'
Vendor: David Carritt
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," August 21, 1995–November 26, 1995.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paper Chase: Two Decades of Collecting Drawings and Prints," December 9, 2014–March 16, 2015.

Boorsch, Lewis and Lewis p.75 n.15.i (proof); Bellini 1979, p. 170; Bellini 1989 p.112 n.24.i; B.XV.414.69
Adam von Bartsch Le Peintre graveur. Vienna, 1803.

Paolo Bellini "Incisioni di Giorgio Ghisi" Rassegna di studi e di notizie. 7, 1979.

Suzanne Boorsch, R. E. Lewis Inc., Michal Lewis The Engravings of Giorgio Ghisi. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1985.

Carmen C. Bambach, Colta Ives, Suzanne Boorsch, Carolyn Logan, Perrin Stein "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1994-1995." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 53, no. 2, Fall 1995, p. 32, ill.

Paolo Bellini L'opera incisa di Giorgio Ghisi. Bassano del Grappa, 1998.

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