• Magnanimity of Scipio Africanus

    Artist:
    Fungai, Bernardino. 1460-1516
    Technique:
    oil, tempera
    Dimensions:
    62x166 cm

Fungai, Bernardino. 1460-1516

Magnanimity of Scipio Africanus

Italy, 1512-1516

Returning to the art of the Early Renaissance, we encounter a rather unusual exhibit – a cassone painting. A cassone was a chest used to store clothing, fabrics or bedding. In the Renaissance era, the fashion arose to decorate such chests with inset painted panels depicting popular subjects. Here the Sienese artist Bernardino Fungai depicted an episode from Ancient Roman history. During the Second Punic War, after the Roman general Scipio Africanus took the city of New Carthage in Spain, he returned a betrothed captive maiden to her fiancé Allucius and gave back the ransom offered by her parents as a wedding present. The painter skilfully combined in one composition three scenes separated in time. In the centre the Roman general is handing the bride over to her beloved along with the gold intended as her ransom. The girl’s mother and kneeling father thank their saviour with profound gratitude. On the right warriors are leading the beautiful captive to their commander. On the left Allucius, mounted on a white horse, is leading a detachment of cavalry that he placed at Scipio’s disposal after the magnanimous treatment he received. The events take place against the background of a picturesque idyllic landscape: mediaeval buildings are bathed in a haze, deer graze on the hills and the trees are strewn with fruit and blossom. Sailing vessels glide across the smooth clear waters of the lake running into the distance. Nature itself echoes the peaceable gesture of the Ancient Roman hero.

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Title:

Magnanimity of Scipio Africanus

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil, tempera

Dimensions:

62x166 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1902; purchased from F.K. Russov

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-267

Category:

Collection: