the Golden Wool
“Psyche Gathering the Golden Wool” (after Raphael) from La Favola di Psiche,
engraving, Agostino Musi Veneziano and the Master of the Die, Rome, 1530-1560.
Many artists came to Rome to study the High Renaissance painter Raphael, who some critics believed had surpassed Michelangelo in the grace and beauty of his art. One of his masterpieces was the “Loggia of Psyche” in Villa Farnesina, painted for Agostino Chigi, a wealthy Sienese banker and finance minister to Pope Leo X. The frescoes were incomplete, but assistants in Raphael’s workshop used his drawings to create thirty-two prints for a poem based on the Psyche story in Apuleis’ Latin novel Metamorphoses, or the Golden Ass.