Tiburtine Sibyl and the Emperor Augustus

Tiburtine Sibyl and the Emperor Augustus

c. 1527–30/31

after Parmigianino

(Italian, 1503-1540)

Antonio da Trento

(Italian, c. 1508-c. 1550)

Chiaroscuro woodcut (in brown-green and black)

Support: Beige(1) laid paper

Sheet: 34.1 x 25.9 cm (13 7/16 x 10 3/16 in.)

Dudley P. Allen Fund 1923.115

Catalogue raisonné: Bartsch 7 (XII.90)



This print depicts the Roman Emperor Augustus (reigned 27 BC–AD 14) and the Tiburtine Sybil, one of several women that Apollo bestowed with prophetic powers. Augustus was deciding whether or not to accept apotheosis (recognition of the emperor as a god after death) and asked the Tiburtine Sybil for advice. At the moment the two met on the Capitoline Hill, the Madonna and Christ the Child appeared before them, revealing the coming of the child as the one who would have surpassed Augustus in ruling the world. Upon the site of the vision, Augustus had built an altar, the Aracoeli. Later, on the same spot, the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli was erected. Antonio da Trento probably made this print under the direct supervision of Parmigianino. In later printings, Antonio da Trento's line block went through two state changes. The CMA example represents the second state, characterized by the addition of hatching to the cheek of the attendant at the left of the composition.

See also
PR - Chiaroscuro
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Dudley P. Allen Fund

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