CRISTOFANO DI MICHELE MARTINI, IL ROBETTA The Adoration of the Magi.
Engraving, circa 1496-1500. 303x280 mm; 12x11 1/4 inches, narrow margins. Cross on a mound watermark. A very good impression of this scarce, early engraving, with strong contrasts and little to no sign of wear.
This engraving is based on Filippino Lippi's (1457-1504) painting of the same subject, which dates from 1496 and is now in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. Robetta (circa 1462-circa 1535) also adopted passages from other contemporaneous prints. The hat above his signature, for instance, is copied from Martin Schongauer's Adoration of the Magi, engraving, circa 1475 (Lehrs 6), as are the heads of the ox and ass to the viewer's right of the Virgin and Child. Meanwhile, the landscape derives from prints by Albrecht Dürer and the sky is based on his Virgin and Child with the Monkey (Bartsch 42, see lot 14) and The Sea Monster (Bartsch 71). The original copper plate for The Adoration of the Magi is now in the British Museum, London, and many extant impressions were printed during the 19th century; earlier printings such as the current work are extremely scarce. Bartsch 6; Hind 10.