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ID number:  BIRBI-55.8
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Ghisi, Giorgio (1520/4-1582)
Title / Object name:  An allegory of life ('The dream of Raphael')
Object type:  Print
Place made:  Île-de-France: Paris
Culture:  Italian
Date made:  1561
Materials:  Engraving
Measurements:  380 x 540 mm
Provenance:  Purchased from Colnaghi's, November 1954, with 15 others for £95.6.01

Believed to have been inspired by Virgil’s Aeneid (19 B.C.), this work remains elusive in meaning. Ghisi’s frenetic attention to detail creates an intense, dream-like atmosphere of confusion. The splintered boat stranded amid the swirling water, jagged rocks and snarling beasts symbolises the man’s struggle to navigate through danger to the sunlit village in the distance. At its most basic level, this print represents the journey through the perils of life, and the river of time that transports us to a heavenly sylvan existence.

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