Angiolo Falconetto (Italian, active ca. 1555–67, died before 1572), after Giulio Romano (Italian, Roman, ca. 1499–1546)
plate 8 1/4 x 6 5/8 in. (20.9 x 16.9 cm)
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1949 (49.95.286)
As had become traditional in villa decoration, the Palazzo del Te in Mantua contained a space dedicated to the Muses. This etching is based on one of the two lunettes in the Loggia delle Muse, painted in about 1532 after designs by Giulio Romano. Here, the Hippocrene font, created by a blow from Pegasus' hoof, flows through large panpipes supported by Apollo. The laurel leaves that nourish the winged horse have also been fashioned into wreaths. In antiquity, the crown of laurel, a symbol of victory, was rarely the reward of poets. However, from the time of Petrarch's coronation on the Capitoline in Rome in 1341, the evergreen leaves were firmly linked to poetic fame.