Andrea Mantegna

Battle of the Sea Gods (left side)

c. 1485-1488
The engravings of Andrea Mantegna occupy a special place in the history of printmaking and they had a major influence on the visual arts in Europe. A notable example is Battle of the Sea Gods, an archetypal image of the Italian Renaissance. The horizontal composition of this rare, two-plate print  whose left-hand portion is on display here  is reminiscent of an antique frieze. The presence of Envy, personified by an emaciated old woman, indicates that the work is an allegory of the destructive power of this human vice. Tritons and marine horses, in the grip of envy, attack one another in a marsh, while nearby, seen from the rear, stands a statue of Neptune.
Title
Battle of the Sea Gods (left side)
Date
c. 1485-1488
Medium
Print
Materials
engraving on laid paper
Dimensions
28 x 42.7 cm
Nationality
Italian
Credit line
Purchased 1915
Accession number
1074