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Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio or Santi) (Italian, Urbino 1483–1520 Rome)

Pen and brown ink over black chalk, partially incised with a stylus (recto); rubbed with black chalk for transfer(?) (verso)
15-5/8 x 11-1/2 in. (39.7 x 29.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1997
Accession Number:
  • Description

    According to Ovid's Fasti and Livy's History of Rome, the noble matron Lucretia committed suicide after being raped by Sextus, son of the tyrant Tarquin the Proud. Her husband, and later Junius Brutus, avenged her honor by leading a revolt that helped institute the republic as a form of government. The artist recast the heroic early Roman legend to focus on the rhetorical gesture of Lucretia as a model of sublime virtue, heightening the drama of her death. The pose for the monumental female figure was clearly inspired by a Roman sculpture. This is a major example of Raphael's draftsmanship, made during the period of his work on the frescoes of the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican Palace. The drawing shows Raphael at his most classical, having already absorbed the influence of the many Roman remains he encountered when he came to Rome in 1508. The sculptural grandeur and monumentality of form evident here reflect this experience.

  • Provenance

    William Russell (British, 1800–1884 London); Christie's, London, December 11, 1884, lot 410; Sir James Knowles (British, Reigate 1831–1908 Brighton); Christie's, London, May 27–29, 1908, lot 167 (to Dunthorne); Private Collection, Montreal

  • Exhibition History

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 5, 1998–March 8, 1998.

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009.

  • References

    Winter Exhibition of Drawings by the Old Masters and Water-Colour Drawings by Deceased Artists of the British School. Exh. cat. Grosvenor Galleries, London, 1877-1878, fig. no. no. 632, ill.

    Julien Stock "A Drawing by Raphael of "Lucretia." Burlington Magazine. July, 1984, cat. no. July 1984, fig. no. fig. 49, pp. 423-424, ill.

    Marzia Faietti, Konrad Oberhuber Bologna e l'umanesimo 1490-1510. Exh. cat., Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna and Graphische Sammlung Albertina. Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna, Bologna, 1988, cat. no. 98, fig. no. pl. XXVII, pp. 320-321, ill.

    David Landau, Peter Parshall The Renaissance Print. New Haven, CT, 1994, fig. no. 114, p. 119, ill.

    Gunnar Eliasson, Ulla Eliasson Företagandets konst, Om Konstproduktionen i renässansens Florens. Stockholm, 1997, cat. no. 9, fig. no. 9, ill.

    Carmen C. Bambach, Colta Ives, Carolyn Logan, Nadine Orenstein, Perrin Stein "Recent Acquisitions, a selection: 1997-1998." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 56, no. 2, New York, Autumn 1998, (entry by Carmen C. Bambach), p. 18, ill.

    Lisa Pon Raphael, Dürer, and Marcantonio Raimondi: Copying and the Italian Renaissance Print. New Haven and London, 2004, fig. no. 49, pp. 97-98, note 6, ill.

    David Franklin From Raphael to Carracci: The Art of Papal Rome. Ex. cat., The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Ottawa, 2009, (entry by Carmen C. Bambach), cat. no. 2, pp. 70-72, ill.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History