By Shelley R. Langdale
This book celebrates Antonio Pollaiuolo's famous engraving, the Renaissance masterpiece Battle of the Nudes. Related works in other media reveal the context in which it was created. The study of early Italian engraving has long been a thorny one, dogged by lack of secure dates and documentation for most prints, as well as complicated attribution issues. Shelley Langdale re-examines Pollaiuolo's masterpiece in light of recent research and assembles crucial watermark and collection documentation.
Antionio del Pollaiuolo (1431-1498) was a renowned Florentine painter, sculptor, draftsman, and goldsmith who was particularly admired for his dynamic and expressive portrayal of the human figure. He carried out a wide range of projects, but a relatively small number of his works survive, and he is perhaps most widely known for his magnificent engraving, Battle of the Nudes. The Cleveland Museum of Art's unique first state of the Battle of the Nudes has long been regarded as the exemplary early impression, printed before the plate began to wear and was supposedly re-engraved by another hand. All other known impressions are second states, pulled from the reworked plate.