About This Artwork

Cornelis Cort (Netherlandish, 1533/36-1578)
after Federico Zuccaro (Italian, c. 1542-1609)

The Calumny of Apelles, 1572

Engraving in black on ivory laid paper
408 x 556 mm (image); 420 x 557 mm (plate/sheet, trimmed slightly within platemark)

Print and Drawing Fund and Stanley Field Endowment, 1994.249

Cornelis Cort’s engraving recreates a lost painting by the ancient Greek artist Apelles, an allegory of slander known only from a detailed description by the ancient historian Lucian. Renaissance artists including Sandro Botticelli, Andrea Mantegna, Albrecht Dürer, and even Pieter Brueghel produced drawings and paintings based on the historian Lucian’s descriptions in homage to various artists of antiquity. Dürer was even called “the Apelles of the North.” Cort’s engraving includes an illusionistic heavily sculptured frame, which highlights prints’ ability to mimic paintings as objects, as well as revive their iconography.

— Exhibition label, Altered and Adorned: Using Renaissance Prints in Daily Life, April 30, 2011–July 10, 2011, Galleries 124–127.

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