Marcantonio RAIMONDI

Sant'Andrea in Argine 1480 - Bologna 1534


Among the most important printmakers of the Renaissance, Marcantonio Raimondi was born near Bologna and studied there with Francesco Raibolini, known as Il Francia. His first engravings date from around 1500-1505, and reveal the figural influence of Francia, Lorenzo Costa and Andrea Mantegna. Raimondi’s early career was spent in Bologna, Venice and Florence, but from c.1510 onwards he was in Rome, where he worked for much of the remainder of his career. Working in collaboration with Raphael’s studio, he produced numerous engravings after the work of the master. Many of his engravings appear to have been made from Raphael’s preparatory drawings rather than the finished paintings, and the resulting prints found a ready market among collectors and connoisseurs, both in Italy and abroad. Indeed, it is largely through the dissemination of Raimondi’s prints that Raphael’s paintings and frescoes became widely known throughout Europe. After Raphael’s death in 1520 Raimondi continued to publish reproductive engravings after Giulio Romano and other members of Raphael’s workshop. His output seems to have declined drastically following the Sack of Rome in 1527, however, and it is thought that he must have been ruined by the collapse of the highly profitable market he had developed for his prints.

Although he is very well known as a printmaker, only relatively recently has Raimondi been properly studied as a draughtsman, largely due the efforts of the late Konrad Oberhuber. His work is characterized by pen drawings, usually finely and delicately drawn but also, at times, more freely and vigorously executed.