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Neoclassical, Art, Mythology, Giulio Romano, Romulus and Janus, Antique Engraving, Italy, c. 1810


Giulio Romano (c. 1499-1546) (after)
Michael Sangiorgio (drawing)
Giuseppe Bortignoni (1778-1860) (engraver)
Regna, Fores Claudit Janus, Habente Numa
Remondini Calcografo, Bassano: c. 1810
Black and white engraving
19.5 x 26.75 inches, platemark
23 x 29 inches, overall

A classical scene depicting the legendary Numa Pompilius, who succeeded Romulus as second King of Rome, greeting Janus, the double-faced god of gates, culture and beginnings, holding a large key. In the background are the seven hills of Rome and the River Tiber. The two men shake hands, flanked by their men and horses. According to Plutarch, it was King Numa who decreed that January should be the first month of the Roman calendar, named after Janus because he is the god who looks both forward and back.

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The artist, Giulio Romano, also known as Giulio Pippi and Giulio Dei Giannuzzi, began his career as a painter and architect as a pupil and protégé of Raphael, assisting him in the Vatican. His style blended modern sensibilities with the forms of classical art. The monumental fresco and architectural projects he created were his crowning achievement, and his drawings were admired for their facility by his contemporaries, a reputation that continues to this day. While in Rome, he painted frescoes of mythological subjects in the Farnese Palace and elsewhere. He and Gianfranceso Penni were entrusted with the completion of Raphael’s unfinished frescoes in the Sala di Costantino in the Vatican in Raphael’s will. In 1524, Romano entered the service of Federigo Gonzalez in Mantua and was the architect for the Palazzo del Tè, one of the great examples of Mannerist architecture and decoration. There, with several assistants, he decorated the interior with frescoes, including his greatest work, Defeat of the Giants. He also painted frescoes in the Ducal Palace of Mantua and in cathedrals and churches. His easel paintings are in the collections throughout Europe, including the Uffizi and Pitti Palace in Florence, the Louvre in Paris, and other major Italian museums.

The inscription on the print indicates that the drawing after Romano for the print was made by Michael Sangiorgio: Inscription: Michael Sangiorgio nunc delineavit in Aedibus P. Borghesii Sumptibus Remondinianis [Drawn in the present day by Michael Sangiorgio Piazzo Borghese Building, Remondini Publisher].

Giuseppe Bortignoni was an Italian artist and engraver born in Bassano who briefly worked in London with Francesco Bartolozzi, but worked mainly in Rome. There he engraved designs based mostly upon the drawings and paintings of the great masters of the Italian Renaissance.

The Remondini family were Italian printers active from the 17th through 19th centuries. Giovanni Antonio Remondini (1634-1711?) was the pre-eminent printer in Bassano, Italy, in his day. The British Library catalog of 17th-century Italian imprints lists some 35 editions printed by Remondini between the years 1669 and 1700.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light wear, toning, soft creases, minor restored abrasions. Slight rubbing on the margin bottom right, just at the corner of the platemark.


Ferris, David. “Re: Bassano & Giovanni Antonio Remondini.” 10 Feb. 1992. Rare Books and Special Collections Forum. <EXLIBRIS@RUTVM1.BITNET> (11 April 2002).

“Giulio Romano (Pippi).” The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. (7 April 2004).

Raine, Henry. “Re: Giovanni Antonio Remondini.” 10 Feb 1992. Rare Books and Special Collections Forum. <EXLIBRIS@RUTVM1.BITNET> (11 April 2002).

Williamson, George C., ed. Bryan’s Dictionary of Painters and Engravers. London: G. Bell and Sons: 1930. Vol. 2. pp. 31-32.

Additional information


19th Century