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The Morbetto, or The Plague of Phrygia

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.




Marcantonio Raimondi (Italian, c. 1480–1534)
after Raffaello Sanzio, called Raphael (Italian, 1483-1520)

About this artwork

The subject of this print, as identified by the text on the central pedestal, is based on an excerpt from Virgil’s epic poem Aeneid, which follows the hero Aeneas on his flight from Troy to Italy after the Trojan War. In book three of the poem, Aeneas’s father interprets a message from the oracle of the god Apollo to mean that the Trojans should colonize the island of Crete. They build a city, which Aeneas names Pergamum, but are struck by a wretched plague, which brings a year of death to humans and animals. Aeneas then has a dream, as seen in the upper left, in which he learns that Apollo’s oracle intended the Trojans to occupy Italy, where Aeneas will eventually settle, becoming the ancestor of the Romans.


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Prints and Drawings


Marcantonio Raimondi


The Morbetto, or The Plague of Phrygia


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.

Made 1515–1516


Engraving in black on ivory laid paper


Image: 19.8 × 25.2 cm (7 13/16 × 9 15/16 in.); Sheet: 19.9 × 25.3 cm (7 7/8 × 10 in.)

Credit Line

The Joseph Brooks Fair Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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