Ugo da Carpi (Italian, flourished ca. 1502–32), after Parmigianino (Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola) (Italian, 1503–1540)
Chiaroscuro woodcut from four blocks, second state
18 11/16 x 13 5/8 in. (48 x 34.6 cm)
Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1917 (17.50.1)
In this stunning example of a chiaroscuro print, we see Diogenes, the misanthropic Cynic philosopher, immersed in his lonely studies. The presence of the chicken is explained by the Cynic's response to Plato's definition of man as a featherless bipedDiogenes is said to have presented a plucked chicken to his followers with the words, "Here is Plato's man!"
Ugo da Carpi was the first Italian artist to experiment with the multiblock colored woodcut. Here, in his boldest print, one of the masterpieces of the medium, Ugo creates form almost exclusively through areas of tone. The printmaker appears to have drawn inspiration from the wash drawings of Parmigianino, with whom he may have collaborated.