Raphael’s Vitruvius and Raimondi’s Caryatid Façade

Christian, Kathleen W. (2016). Raphael’s Vitruvius and Raimondi’s Caryatid Façade. Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 92(2) pp. 91–127.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7227/BJRL.92.2.7


Marcantonio Raimondi's so-called Caryatid Façade has received scant attention, yet it occupies an important place in the printmaker's oeuvre and was widely admired and imitated in the sixteenth century. The image, which features an architectural façade adorned with Caryatid and Persian porticoes and an oversized female capital, does not fit easily with the usual narrative about Raimondi's career in Rome, summed up in Vasari's account that he collaborated with Raphael to publicise the master's storie. Rather than being an illustration of a religious or mythological subject, it brings together architectural fantasia, archaeology and Vitruvian studies, reflecting on the origins of the orders and the nature of architectural ornament. Arguably, it is also an indirect trace of Raphael's unfinished projects to reconstruct Rome and to collaborate with humanist Fabio Calvo and others on a new, illustrated edition of Vitruvius.

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