born c. 1480, near Bologna, Italy
died c. 1534, Bologna
byname Marcantonio Italian Renaissance master of engraving whose prints
did much to disseminate the style of the High Renaissance throughout
Raimondi received his training in the workshop of the famous goldsmith
and painter Francesco Raibolini, called Francia. The stiff, irregular
hatching, as well as the figures, draperies, and composition of such
early engravings as “Pyramus and Thisbe” (1505) reveal the influence of
Francia, but the landscape backgrounds and his use of light and shade
indicate that he was familiar with the engravings of Lucas van Leyden.
Raimondi also profited from studies of Dürer's energetic line and his
use of crosshatching in modelling.
In about 1510 Raimondi went to Rome. There his activity was almost
entirely limited to reproducing works of Raphael, Michelangelo, and
their followers. He was very successful financially and attracted a
large number of pupils, of whom the two most distinguished were Marco
Dente, known as Marco da Ravenna, and Agostino de Musi, known as
Raimondi's best engravings, such as “Massacre of the Innocents,” were
done during the first years after he had attached himself to Raphael. In
these he retains Raphael's idealized figures, but, in the parts where he
was left to himself (the rounding and shading, the background and
landscape), he managed his burin with all the skill and freedom he had
gained by the imitation of northern models, while dispensing with the
northern emphasis on detail. Raimondi's engravings after the works of
Raphael's later years were characterized by a colder, harsher use of
light and shade and by less-disciplined design.
Raimondi was disgraced when he was arrested for engraving a series of
obscene designs after Giulio Romano. He was finally ruined by having to
pay a heavy ransom to the Spaniards who had taken Rome, after which he
retired to obscurity in Bologna.