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Parnassus Profaned

A work made of engraving in black on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of engraving in black on ivory laid paper.


after 1520


Master HFE
Italian, early 16th century

About this artwork

Artists in Renaissance Rome not only copied the antique but also parodied it in sometimes sensational ways. Here the mysterious Italian engraver H. F. E. turned Raphael’s Apollo on Parnassus fresco (and Marcantonio’s print, 1919.2554) into a sinuous, sexually charged bacchanal. Like the intertwined foreground couples, the overtly amorous back- ground trees are a far cry from the upright, slender trunks in Raphael’s work. They may reference a travel literature satire by the ancient writer Lucian, in which adventurers copulate with deadly trees. Apollo’s trusty steed, Pegasus, is perhaps the most recognizable mythological figure—here unusually shown from behind—as he hurriedly flies away from the debauched company below.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Master H.E.


Parnassus Profaned


Italy (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Engraving in black on ivory laid paper


Image/plate/sheet: 35.5 × 50.6 cm (14 × 19 15/16 in.)

Credit Line

The Amanda S. Johnson and Marion J. Livingston Fund

Reference Number


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