Master of 1515 (Italian [?], active ca. 1515)
Engraving with drypoint burr
plate: 6 1/4 x 7 in. (16 x 17.8 cm), sheet: 6 3/8 x 7 1/8 in. (16.3 x 18.1 cm)
Gift of Henry Walters, by exchange, 1931 (31.31.19)
Even the nationality of the idiosyncratic artist who created this print is uncertain. The only definite information we have about the printmaker is the date of 1515 on one of his prints, and the knowledge that several of his architectural motifs derive from a sketchbook attributed to the Milanese sculptor Agostino Busti. The printmaker's style, in which closely placed parallel lines create patches of shading, is closest to that of Mantegna. All but six of the forty engravings attributed to the Master include drypoint burr, very evident here in the rich velvety black lines and smudgy shadows. This print is a characteristic example of the artist's naive yet charming interpretation of classical subject matter, perhaps inspired in part by the illustrations of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili of 1499.