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Enea Vico

Enea Vico (Parma 1523–1567 Ferrara)
River God After the Antique (Nile), early 1540s
Pen and brown ink, over traces of black chalk
Inscribed at lower left, in pen and brown ink, with the artist's monogram, Æ.V.
7 1/16 x 12 1/16 inches (178 x 306 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910; IV, 50
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This drawing is after an antique statue found in 1513 near the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, and subsequently placed in the Belvedere sculpture court in the Vatican by Pope Leo X. Unlike its companion, the Tiber, this colossal marble of the River Nile is still in the Vatican. The small children cavorting on and about the figure of the river god symbolize the fertility brought to the surrounding area by the flooding of the Nile. In combination with the cornucopia, they transform the image into an allegory of fecundity.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.