According to contemporary accounts, Michelangelo attended the excavation of the Greek sculpture <em>Laocoön and His Sons</em> when it was unearthed near Rome in 1506. Laocoön was a Trojan priest who, along with his two sons, was attacked by sea serpents sent by the goddess Athena. The emotional agony of the sculpture fascinated Michelangelo and artists throughout Italy, inspiring copies and variations. In this drawing, a northern Italian artist referenced just one figure from the story using the chiaroscuro technique—achieved here with dark and light inks on blue toned paper—to emphasize the sculptural quality of the body.

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  • Title: Man Entwined by Two Snakes
  • Creator: Giovanni Antonio da Pordenone (Italian, 1483/84-1539)
  • Date Created: c. 1527
  • Physical Dimensions: Sheet: 19.2 x 11.7 cm (7 9/16 x 4 5/8 in.)
  • Provenance: Marquis Charles de Valori, Paris(?) (Lugt 2500, lower right, in blue ink )., Prince Rustichelle, Paris (according to departmental cataloguing sheet). Emile Wauters, Paris (Lugt 911, lower left, in black ink). Winslow and Anna Ames, Springfield, Missouri (Lugt 2602a, upper right, blind stamped). [Durlacher Bros., N.Y.]
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1944.475
  • Medium: pen and brown ink and brown and blue wash, heightened with white gouache
  • Inscriptions: lower center, in brown ink: Pordenone
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Italy, 16th century
  • Credit Line: Dudley P. Allen Fund
  • Collection: DR - Italian
  • Accession Number: 1944.475

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