About this artwork
This enigmatic image is based on a sketch by Leonardo da Vinci that may be an allegory for Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan and Leonardo’s patron. The fighting creatures symbolize lust, anger, fear, greed, and other base passions, which are kept at bay by Reason: the sun’s rays reflected in the shield.
There are few engravings by the anonymous Milanese artist, who is named after the subject of one of his prints. The master’s soft tones are achieved by stippling and short flicks of the point of the burin, an engraver’s tool with a diamond or square-shaped steel shaft attached to a wood handle. The effect is similar to those of Giulio Campagnola, whose print Christ and the Samaritan Woman can be seen nearby.
Currently Off View
- Prints and Drawings
- Master of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist
- Allegory: Combat of Animals in the Presence of Man with Shield
- Engraving in black on ivory laid paper
- 230 x 327 mm (sheet); 224 x 312 mm (plate)
- Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Potter Palmer, Jr.