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About This Artwork
Drunken Silenus (the "Tazza Farnese"), c. 1597
Engraving on ivory laid paper
320 mm (image in diameter); 427 x 320 mm (sheet)
The Regenstein Collection, 1989.172
Prints and Drawings
Not on Display
Contemporary accounts described the slightly curved printing plate (Capodimonte Museum, Naples) for this Carracci engraving as an artwork and a vessel for drinking or serving wine: “More beautiful . . . is Silenos engraved on a silver salver for Cardinal Farnese.” A Roman gem from Farnese’s extensive collection likely supplied the image, while the plate’s shape mimicked ancient kylixes, such as this one (1889.118), which was incised with a delicate geometrical design while the clay was still wet. Greek black-glazed wares made of terracotta resembled more expensive metal counterparts, which might have been stamped and incised much like Carracci’s silver salver.
— Exhibition label, Dionysos Unmasked: Ancient Sculpture and Early Prints, July 31, 2015–February, 15, 2016, Galleries 150 and 154.