Sex Shop: Raphael and the Erotics of Print
Madeleine C. Viljoen
Curator of Prints and the Spencer Collection, The New York Public Library
Laid on the bed of the press and forced into an intimate embrace with the incised matrix through the act of printing, the inky image that materialized on the sheet as a result of this interaction might be described as corroborative evidence of a potent, even violent sexual encounter. Although Raphael and the team of engravers he assembled to develop engravings after his designs created works with an undeniably erotic charge, this is likely not the way they would have regarded the process they engaged to produce prints. Exploring Raphael’s reliance on female nude models within his studio practice and his engravers’ role in disseminating his sketches and drawings for engravings, this paper will explore the part prints by Marcantonio Raimondi and his associates played in expressing Raphael’s libidinous persona and in giving rise to Giulio Romano’s engineering of the scandalous Modi.