Dec 2, 2005

Cephalus and Procris in two Niches

Cephalus and Procris in two Niches


René Boyvin

(French, c. 1525–after 1580)

after Rosso Fiorentino

(Italian, 1494–1540)


Support: Blued white laid paper

Sheet: 20.7 x 26.6 cm (8 1/8 x 10 1/2 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1991.96

Catalogue raisonné: Robert-Dumesnil 69 (VIII.46)



The Italian Renaissance made an impact outside Italy in the second quarter of the 1500s, when the French king François I invited Italian artists to oversee the decorative program of his chateau at Fontainebleau. Arriving in 1530, Rosso Fiorentino had been deeply influenced by Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes, which he had seen while working in Rome between 1524 and 1527. Rosso’s designs for two figures in niches (which were engraved by René Boyvin) imitate the complexity and tension of Michelangelo’s nudes. In this story from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Cephalus has accidentally impaled his wife Procris, who had been spying on him from the bushes.

See also
PR - Engraving
Type of artwork: 

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