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Master of the Die

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Cupid and Psyche Plead their Case before the Gods

Artist: Master of the Die (active ca. 1532 – )
Artist: Raphael (Urbino, Italy, 1483-1520 - , Rome, Italy) After
Date: ca. 1530-1540
16th century
Dimensions: 7.87 x 9.25 in. (20 x 23.5 cm)
Dimensions Extent: overall
Object Type: Print
Creation Place: Europe, Italy
Medium and Support: Engraving on paper
Credit Line: Museum purchase, 2016
Accession Number: 2017.22.01
On View: Bellarmine Hall Galleries, Print Case

This engraving formed part of a series of 32 prints telling the story of the god Cupid and the mortal woman, Psyche, with whom he fell in love. In this scene, the lovers, having surpassed many obstacles (chiefly the opposition of Cupid’s mother Venus) appear before Jupiter and the Olympian gods, identifiable by their attributes. Jupiter, swayed by Cupid’s plea, will offer her the ambrosia that will make her immortal. At the lower right appears an earlier moment of the narrative; Mercury brings Psyche to Mount Olympus.

The name of the Master of the Die is unknown, but he seems to have studied with Marcantonio Raimondi, one of the best-known Renaissance engravers. The print is inscribed with the name of the publisher, Antonio Salamanca, at the lower left: “Ant[onio] Sal[amanca] exc[udit].” Below, lines of Italian verse in two blocks explain the scene, drawn from a translation of Apuleius.

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