Cornelis Cort (Flemish, ca. 15331578), after Federico Zuccaro (Italian, 15431609)
Engraving from two plates; first state before inscription; upper plate 14 1/4 x 21 1/8 in. (36.2 x 53.7 cm); lower plate 14 11/16 x 21 3/16 in. (37.3 x 53.4 cm)
Purchase, Charles C. Offin Fund Inc., 1988 (1988.1086)
While the Muses were initially associated with poets, scholars, and patrons of the arts, it was not long before visual artists sought to join the ranks. In this elaborate allegory, a personification of painting appears to a seated artist (Zuccaro) and points to Olympus, where the Graces and the weeping Muses beg Jupiter to allow the Muse of painting to join her nine sisters. Minerva, like Apollo a protector of the arts, shows Jupiter an allegorical representation of Faith under attack by Heresy to demonstrate the capacity of the visual arts to convey a moral message, while Envy writhes beneath Painting's feet.