Minerva, as goddess of the arts, shaking hands with Italia; behind them Mercury, the messenger god. Engraving by F. Bartolozzi, 1789, after Burney.
- Burney, Edward Francis, 1760-1848.
- 31 Jan[uar]y 1789
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"In the plate belonging to the title, the Colisseo or Amphitheatre, alludes to the ancient, St. Peter's to the modern Italian literature. The majestic woman, in the act of rising, by the assistance of Minerva, who takes her by the hand, represents Italy in its actual state of reviving in sciences, arts &c. The idea of the figure of Mercury is taken from a copy of the original of Raphael in the Farnesina, drawn upon the spot by the masterly hand of Mr James Barry; the whole executed by the very ingenious youth, Mr Charles Burney, and engraved by Bartolozzi."--Il Mercurio Italico p. 18, presumably written by Francesco Sastres. The Colosseum is in the background, left, andSt Peter's on the right. The subject represents Italy as a source of the arts and sciences, and the publication Il Mercurio italico as the communicator of those arts to the rest of the world
Il Mercurio italico. Floriferis ut apes in saltibus omnia libant, omnia nos itidem - Lucretius. Vide p.18. Burney delt. Bartolozzi sculpt.
London : F. Sastres, 31 Jan[uar]y 1789.
1 print : engraving, with etching ; image 9.4 x 11 cm
Wellcome Library no. 39070i
According to the editor, Francesco Sastres, the figure of Mercury was drawn by James Barry after Raphael, and the composition as a whole was by "the very ingenious youth, Mr Charles Burney". Charles Rousseau Burney (1747-1819), a musician, was not a youth at the time, being aged 42, nor was his younger brother, the artist Edward Francisco Burney (1760-1848), being aged 29, nor was the schoolmaster and classical scholar Charles Burney (1757-1817), who was aged 32 at the time and not known as an artist. On the other hand the son of the schoolmaster, Charles Parr Burney, was an artist but was only born in 1785 so was no more than four years old at the time: if it was he, he was indeed "a very ingenious youth" and a child prodigy, and hardly to be described as "Mr.". The only alternative seems to be that Francesco Sastres gave the artist's forename as Charles in error for Edward Francisco, which also seems unlikely