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[The Prophet Ezekiel]: Ghisi, c.1570 (Printed c.1823)

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  • Title: [The Prophet Ezekiel]
  • Author: Giorgio Ghisi
  • Date: c.1570 (Printed c.1823)
  • Condition: See description 
  • Inches: 17 1/2 x 22 1/4 [Paper]
  • Centimeters: 44.45 x 56.51 [Paper]
  • Product ID: 308232

Rare Engraving by Ghisi, after Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Painting

Lovely engravings of the prophet Ezekiel from the series of prophets and sybils by Giorgio Ghisi, rarely seen outside major museum collections.  The series reproduces six of the twelve figures in the pendentives at the lower edges of the Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512.  State v. of v., with fig leaves added to the nudes by order of Pope Leo XII.  The original plate is in the Calcographia Nazionale, inventory number 195.

The date of 1540 which appears on some of the prints, including the instant example, is almost certainly incorrect. At this date Ghisi’s engraving style had not developed to the level evident in these prints. Also, the publisher of the engravings, Nicolò van Aelst, was not active until the 1570s. The false dating may therefore have to do with rivalry among publishers and the desire to add value to the prints by claiming that they were the earliest to be made after the Sistine ceiling was completed by Michelangelo.

Background on Creator

Although Chisi was born and died in Mantua, the small northern Italian city ruled by the noble Gonzaga family, he spent nearly half his working life in the north of Europe. From 1550 to 1555 he created engravings for Hieronymus Cock, whose Aux Quatre Vents publishing house in the flourishing port city of Antwerp was the largest and best known in northern Europe. Ghisi then spent ten or twelve years in France, during which time he produced some of his most compelling images. 

His prints have always been well known wherever prints have been collected, and perhaps especially so in the English-speaking countries. Indeed, the Metropolitan Museum, in New York has acquired nearly one hundred impressions of Ghisi's engravings, including a unique proof state of The Calumny of Apelles and rare early states of the Prophets and Sibyls series after Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling


The Engravings of Giorgio Ghisi, catalogue raisonné by Michael and R.E. Lewis, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1985.

Bartsch 19, Heller-Andresen 7, Massari 186


Backed with archival paper for stability, some loss to image skillfully reinstated.  Expertly repaired crack at lower right along pediment approximately four inches long.  Trimmed as usual, occasional stains, about excellent.