Antonio da Trento - engraver, Francesco Mazzola (called Parmigianino) - inventor - Narcissus and Echo
Italian engraver Antonio da Trento is credited with some thirty prints. All were based on works by Parmigianino, his collaborator, and were executed using the chiaroscuro woodcut method. This technique was particularly popular in the 16th century in Italy for its more expressive painterly effect than that of the woodcut and the engraving. Antonio’s woodcut prints are characterized by an emphasis on line and a strong contrast of light and shadow. The subject matter is not entirely clear here. Originally, the print was known as Seated Nude Man, Seen from the Back; only later the theme was called Narcissus and Echo, one of the tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. A beautiful youth by the name of Narcissus rejected the love of his admirers, including that of the nymph Echo. Overpowered by sorrow, Echo wasted away until all that was left of her was her voice. As a punishment for his cold pride, Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection in the water, agonizing over it until he died. Scholars have also contemplated the possibility that the print portrays Endymion and Selene, the goddess of the moon. These lovers could only be together when the shepherd Endymion was asleep. However, Selene is usually depicted with a crescent set upon her head, and this attribute is missing in this image.
measurements: height 290 mm
width 187 mm
in collections:
material: paper
technique: chiaroscuro woodcut, printed from two plates
inventory number: R 179524
gallery collection: Collection of Prints and Drawings