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Master of the Die
Nationality: 
italian
Gender: 
Male
According to Benezit, the Master of the Die is Bernardo Daddi II (ca. 1512-1570), also known as Beatricius l'Ancien. Bartsch makes no mention of the name Daddi, although he does connect the Master of the Die to Beatricius l'Ancien. More recent scholarship suggests this identification is incorrect; the Grove Dictionary of Art offers the following biography: ( fl c. 1530–c. 1560). Engraver and print designer, active in Italy. Name given to an artist in the workshop of Marcantonio Raimondi in Rome who signed his prints with a small die, or the letters BV. Suggested identifications include Benedetto Verino, Daddi or Dado, Marcantonio’s natural son, or, more recently, TOMMASO VINCIDOR, one of Raphael’s assistants. The Master collaborated with many of the artists in Marcantonio’s studio working on Raphaelesque designs and made scores of prints, mainly reproducing Raphael’s decorations for the Vatican (e.g. Coronation of the Virgin, B. 29). The Master also produced sheets of grotesque decorative panels in imitation of the antique prototypes reinvented by Raphael (e.g. B. 80–85); these served as patterns for north European decoration. He is best known for a suite of four designs, Playing Putti (1532; B. 32–5). These prints were made after tapestry designs by Giovanni da Udine and cartoons by Vincidor (Munich, Staatl. Graph. Samml.), finished in 1521, which expressed the dream of a Golden Age under the pontificate of Leo X. Each shows three winged putti engaged in symbolic play on heavy swags of verdure. The cartoons were sent with Vincidor to Brussels to be woven, and the finished tapestries hung in the Sala di Constantino in the Vatican. The new genre was popular: 20 similar compositions by other artists are known in drawings or engravings. In the 1530s the Master’s engravings were themselves used as cartoons for tapestry sets after Raphael’s Life of the Virgin, ordered by such patrons as the Prince–Bishop of Liège, Cardinal Evrard de la Marck. The Master’s works therefore reveal the extraordinary productivity of the Marcantonio workshop at this date and the high standard of craftsmanship used to disseminate Raphael’s oeuvre. Previous biographical information: Worked in Rome from 1532-1550; Wilshire Vol.2, p.145