Wilton Album, folio 10a: Priapus and Lotis

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Priapus, the ithyphallic god of gardens and fertility and the incarnation of unbridled carnal lust, was a favorite character in the erotic poetry of antiquity and the Renaissance. Long believed to represent Apollo and Daphne, this print instead illustrates a scene from the story of Priapus and Lotis narrated in Ovid's Fasti (elegiac verses commemorating the rustic rituals and celebrations of the ancient Roman calendar) in which the fleeing nymph is transformed into a tree to avoid the rapacious god's advances. An act of censorship has removed, or, more accurately, obscured beneath an improbably swirling drapery, Priapus's enormous, offending phallus.

This etching reproduces the composition of a damaged drawing attributed to Parmigianino (Albertina, Vienna) and is possibly the work of his Parmese follower Jacopo Bertoia.

Wilton Album, folio 10a: Priapus and Lotis, Anonymous, Italian, 16th century, Etching

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